In our continuing Thursday night series profiling the members of the New York Jets Ring of Honor, this week we take a look back at former Jets wide receiver, Al Toon, a guy forced to retire far too early.
Al Toon’s early sports career was best known in the world of track and field. In high school, Toon surpassed 50 feet in the triple jump three separate times. He also reached 23 feet in the long jump. He used this ability to play football both in high school, and in college with the University of Wisconsin.
Al Toon was chosen in the first round of the 1985 NFL draft (10th overall), by the Jets, where he spent his entire career. At 6’4″ 205 lbs, he was actually bigger than a contemporary of his, namely Jerry Rice (6’2″, 200 lbs), and many Jets fans think he would have been as good as Jerry Rice had Al not been forced into early retirement. He was a 3x Pro Bowl selction, and All-Pro selection, in the years 1986-1988. He also was player of the year in the AFC in 1986.
His major impact was first felt in 1986, where Toon caught 85 passes for 1176 yards and 8 TDs, leading to the aforementioned player of the year honors in the AFC. He led the NFL in receptions in 1988 with 93 receptions, to go along with 1067 yards, and 5 TDs. Concussions unfortunately plagued Al Toon throughout his career, as he suffered through at least 9 in his 8 seasons, finally forcing him to retire after the 1992 season in which he only played in 9 games. He was still in his prime at 29 years old.
For his career, he amassed 517 receptions for 6,605 yards and 31 TDs. Project those out over several more years and you can only imagine the numbers that Toon might have posted.
A career taken from us far too early, but a welcome member of the Jets Ring of Honor, Al Toon.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, and memories of the great Al Toon.