One of my favorite pieces to write here on the New York Jets has always been the weekly “Throw Back Thursday.” I enjoy stepping back into my younger days and plucking out a favorite player to write about. Today, that player is Rich Caster. For the older fans here, I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane. For the younger fans that didn’t have the opportunity to watch Caster, I hope you enjoy the read. Let’s take a look at one of my favorite Jets.
Caster was taken in the second round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Jets. Caster measured in at 6’5″/228lbs and played tight end for 8 seasons. Caster was a convert to the tight end position, having played wide receiver for much of his football career.
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His style of play was electrifying, as it had yet to become vogue to use a wide receiver in a tight end role. Caster played it as well as anyone on the field. He had a knack for reeling in the deep ball, tracking it down field as linebackers and safeties struggled to keep up with his speed.
Caster’s career totals as a Jet have secured him a place as the all-time leader in touchdowns for a tight end. Caster’s 4,434 receiving yards is the ninth best total in team history. Caster was a touchdown machine as he led the team with 10 touchdowns in 1972 and ended his Jet career standing at seventh all-time in receiving touchdowns at 36.
Caster was a fun guy to watch on the field, he gave 110% on every play he was out there for. Whether Caster was picking up a blitzer in the backfield or burning a safety deep down the sideline, Caster never failed to bring Jet fans to their feet! I spent many Sundays in the cold confines of Shea Stadium watching Caster entertain the fans and frustrate opposing defenders. Caster played “Like a Jet” long before the phrase was coined. He was a Pro Bowl selection for the Jets in the 1972, 1974 and 1975 seasons.
Off the field, Caster was a class act as well. He gave freely of his time and money to charities he believed in. He along with Joe Namath were involved in the “March of Dimes” campaigns from their inceptions and were avid supporters over the decades.
Aug 2, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Joe Namath at the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinees Gold Jacket Dinner at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Caster is best known for his work with youngsters. He volunteered his time for the Bronx Boys Club for many years as a player and even after his grid iron days. He has also been associated with the Urban League of New York and worked for them as a youth job counselor in the offseason of his playing career. Caster has long dedicated himself to aiding troubled youth and advocated for sports programs to keep them off the streets.
An electrifying player on the field, Caster made his mark on Jet history. He has been a teacher, a mentor and a coach. Caster is and will likely remain a fan favorite for many years to come. I have many fond memories of watching him play and hopefully you do as well.
Until next week, this has been my Throw Back Thursday look into Jet history. I hope you enjoyed the read as next week, we’ll take a look at Jet wide receiver Al Toon. I hope you join us then!