Randy Gradishar Speaker Profile
Retired Linebacker for the Denver Broncos
Randy Gradishar Biography
Randy Gradishar was born March 3, 1952 in Warren, Ohio and is a former college and professional American football linebacker who played in the 1970s and 1980s.
Gradishar was drafted 14th overall in the 1974 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Gradishar went on to spend 10 seasons with the Denver Broncos franchise. He played along with Tom Jackson as part of the Orange Crush Defense and is considered by some to be the greatest defensive player in Broncos history.
He became a starter midway though his rookie season and was named to his first Pro Bowl after the 1975 season, his second in the NFL. From that season through his last, 1983, the Broncos "Orange Crush" defense allowed the third fewest rushing yards in the NFL, behind only the Steelers "Steel Curtain" defense and the and Cowboys' "Doomsday" defense. Additionally, the Broncos trailed only the Steelers in the fewest yards per rush during that same span. They have been named one of the NFL's greatest defenses by the BBC and others.
Gradishar became nationally known in a 1975 Monday Night Football game versus the Green Bay Packers in which he picked off a pass and returned it for a game-sealing victory while also recording a sack, two tackles for loss and knocked down two passes and recorded six solo tackles.
In 1977 Gradishar assisted the Broncos to Super Bowl XII. He made the Pro Bowl for the second time and began a string of six consecutive appearances from 1977 to 1983. Gradishar was First Team All-Pro and led a defense that led the AFC in fewest points allowed with 148 in that 14-game season and was 6th in allowing the fewest yards.
In January, 2008, he was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly 's All-Time 3-4 defensive team along with Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, Andre Tippett, Howie Long, Lee Roy Selmon, and Curley Culp.
Gradishar retired after the 1983 season, finishing his career with over 2,000 tackles and 20 interceptions, which he returned for 335 yards and four touchdowns. He also recovered 13 fumbles, returning them for 72 yards and one touchdown. He also recorded 20 sacks according to Bronco team records. Since his retirement, he has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame several times, but has yet to be enshrined. He was among the 15 finalists in 2003 and 2008, and made the top 25 list in 2005 and 2007. The closest he came to induction was the day before the 2003 Super Bowl, when he made it to list of final ten.
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