Randy Gradishar, leader of the Denver Broncos famed “Orange Crush” defense, elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Randy Gradishar, the leader of the Denver Broncos’ famed “Orange Crush” defense of the 1970s, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2024 on Thursday night.

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams
Randy Gradishar during an NFL football game on Dec. 12, 1982.

Focus On Sport / Getty Images

He was chosen as a senior finalist last summer and received that news while he was at his job at an auto dealership in Denver. He said his jaw dropped at the time.

Gradishar, a linebacker, was known for his fierce tackling and relentless play. He helped lead the Broncos to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1977 and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1978. The Orange Crush defense also featured Rubin Carter, Tom Jackson, Lyle Alzado, Bill Thompson and Louis Wright.

Gradishar played for the Broncos from 1973-83. He was a finalist for the hall two different times as a modern-era candidate — in 2003 and in 2008.

Source: Rocky Mountain News

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