This afternoon, I decided to go back into the annals of New York Jets history a little bit, for a new edition of “Where Are They Now?” Despite the fact we don’t have the rings to back it up, there is a pretty rich Jets’ history,isn’t there? Well, for today, we are going to go back to the late 1970s, to visit with a player that didn’t catch the glory, but paved the way for his defensive linemates to do so.
That player was named Abdul Salaam, #74. Actually he was born Larry Young, but changed his name later in life. We could assume the likely reason for the name change, but actually, the name means “serenity of peace”, which is what Abdul wanted in his life, so he made the change.
Although, it is ironic if you compare to today. Could you imagine someone changing their name TO ABDUL SALAAM? IN THIS DAY AND AGE? Unfortunately not. So, today we would have guys switching away from Abdul Salaam, and today switching to Larry Young. It’s a new world order.
BUt today is not for that. Today is for talking about the influence that Salaam had during his time with the Jets.
At Kent State, Abdul performed in three sports, baseball, football, and basketball, eventually peaking at the top of all three. He was chosen for first team AII-Mid-American Conference three straight seasons. He was drafted by the Jets in the 7th round with the 188th pick overall.
Through his Jets career which spanned into 1983, Abdul Salaam was the a fixture on the D-lie, although he didn’t pick up the big numbers. That is what his brilliance was, gang. He was able to contain 1-2 blockers on every play, leaving room for the “New York Sack Exchange”, led by Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau, to take the team to 66 sacks, league record by far. Abdul recorded only 2.5 sacks in his career, but all the members of the sack exchange were clear in their support of Abdul being the guy that paved the way for their success.
He once reeked havoc on opposing defense, and now he has reached a life of serenity. We should all be so lucky. Number #74, defensive tackle, Abdul Salaam!