The Heart and Soul of the Orange Crush
As a linebacker at Ohio State Randy Gradishar enjoyed an incredible career earning praise from Head Coach Woody Hayes himself as Hayes claimed he “was the best linebacker he had ever coached”. Indeed the proof was there as he set a school record with 320 career tackles and was 6th in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior year of 1973. Since he left Ohio State he has been selected to the Ohio State Hall of Fame, the College Hall of Fame and the Ohio State All Century team of 2000.
After being chosen by the Denver Broncos as their first round draft pick of 1974 it didn’t take long for Randy Gradishar to assert himself as one of the dominant linebacker in the league. He was the Broncos top tackler almost every season he played and was credited on numerous occasions as the leader of the famed “Orange Crush” defense of Denver of the 1970s. Twice named All Pro and included in 7 Pro Bowls the 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been compared to Steelers Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert, but without the mean streak.
His All-Time 10-Year Career tackles has been placed at 2,049. Some sources have placed it even higher, at over 3,100. While these numbers may be a little suspect the fact remains that Randy Gradishar was dominating tackling machine on the football field. In 2023 he was named as a Senior Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was his 4th time being nominated.
Image Gallery of Broncos Linebacker Randy Gradishar
Career Totals for Randy Gradishar
|10 Year NFL Career||145||2049||20||335||93||3||13||72||1||19.5|
- + – All-Pro Selection
- * – Pro Bowl Selection
- Totals for Tackles are taken from Denver Bronco Media Guides Listings