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Randy Gradishar to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Photo via the Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Randy Gradishar has been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The outstanding Denver Bronco, and Ohio State Buckeye linebacker of the early 1970s, was one of seven voted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, as enshrines of the Class of 2024. The class was revealed on “NFL Honors,” an awards show that aired nationally Thursday evening on the NFL Network, CBS and Paramount+.

Gradishar played his entire 10-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos, retiring after the 1983 season as the all-time leading tackler in Bronco history and a seven-time All-Pro selection. He was the Associated Press NFL Defensive MVP/Player of the Year in 1978 and he led the Broncos in tackles nine consecutive years. His unofficial total of 2,049 career tackles is the most in Broncos history and were the most in NFL history at the time of his retirement.

He is in the Broncos Ring of Fame and a member of the Broncos’ 50th Anniversary Team. He was the leader of Denver’s “orange crush” defense that carried the team to Super Bowl XII in 1977.

After retiring, Gradishar stayed in Denver, where he has lived 50 years and worked the last 27 years in corporate communications for Phil Long Dealerships. Previously, he worked for nine years as President of the Denver Broncos Youth Foundation and four years with “Promise Keepers,” led by Bill McCartney.

It has been written that Woody Hayes called Gradishar “the best linebacker” he ever coached and his Ohio State career accomplishments speak loudly to that sentiment. Gradishar was a two-time All-American – consensus in 1972 and unanimous in 1973 – who recorded a then-school record 320 total tackles as a three-year starter from 1971 through 1973. He still ranks 12th in tackles at Ohio State. Gradishar was sixth in the 1973 Heisman Trophy voting and was the backbone that year of an Ohio State defense that allowed just 64 points and shut out four opponents.

A three-time all-Big Ten Conference first-team honoree, Gradishar helped the Buckeyes to Big Ten championships in 1972 and 1973. He led the Buckeyes in tackles as a senior in 1973 with 134 which, at the time, was a school record for a single season. Upon graduation, he also held the school record for career assisted tackles with 165. He had a career-high 22 tackles in a win over Washington State in 1973.

One of Ohio State’s first National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes – the school now boasts 21 to rank second nationally among all schools – Gradishar was also a first-team Academic All-American who is the only Buckeye to be enshrined into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame, in 1992. He was the recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1974.

In December 1998, Gradishar was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and he has since been awarded the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award and named to the Dick Butkus Award Silver Anniversary team. In 1983 he was inducted into the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame.

Grahishar is the 10th former Buckeye football player and 11th Ohio State student-athlete to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Buckeyes in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Class    Pos.      Player – Team(s)

2024     LB       Randy Gradishar – Denver Broncos, 1974-83

2016     OT       Orlando Pace – St. Louis Rams, 1997-2008; Chicago Bears, 2009

2013     WR      Cris Carter – Philadelphia Eagles, 1987-89; Minnesota Vikings, 1990-2001; Miami

  Dolphins, 2002

2011     *S-A    Ed Sabol – Founder, President, Chairman of NFL Films, 1964-95

2010     CB       Dick LeBeau – Detroit Lions, 1959-72

1983     WR      Paul Warfield – Cleveland Browns, 1964-69; 1976-77; Miami Dolphins, 1970-74

1983     Coach   Sid Gillman – Cincinnati Bengals, 1949-54; Los Angeles Rams, 1955-59; San Diego

                          Chargers, 1960-69; Houston Oilers, 1973-74; Chicago Bears, 1977; Philadelphia Eagles,


1977     MG      Bill Willis – Cleveland Browns, 1946-53

1975     E          Dante Lavelli – Cleveland Browns, 1946-56

1974     K         Lou Groza – Cleveland Browns, 1950-67

1973     G-T      Jim Parker – Baltimore Colts, 1957-67

Additionally, Ohio State head coach Paul Brown (1941-43) is also enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*S-A – student-athlete; Sabol swam for the Ohio State swimming team

Ohio State Official Press Release

I attended Malone College to pursue a Journalism career in Politics...I have found that writing about Sports is a lot more fun! I am an avid NBA, MLB & NFL fan. Find me on Twitter @nats_sportschat

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