New York Jets Player of the Day: TE Jerome Barkum
By Luke Easterling
In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the New York Jets’ storied past. Today, we take a look at tight end Jerome Barkum.
In the NFL, it’s a rare and special thing when a player spends an entire career, spanning more than a decade, with the same team. New York Jets tight end Jerome Barkum did just that, spending 12 seasons with the Gang Green.
A top-10 pick in the 1972 NFL draft out of Jackson State, Barkum would eventually become one of the most productive pass-catchers in Jets history.
While he only made one start as a rookie, Barkum still proved to be a big-play machine for the Jets, averaging 19 yards per reception. He broke out the following season as a full-time starter, making his only Pro Bowl appearance after tallying career-bests in receptions (44) and receiving yards (810), along with six touchdown receptions.
Opposing defenses had hard time keeping Barkum from making big plays throughout his career, as he averaged more than 15 yards per reception in five different seasons.
Barkum remained an effective receiver into the latter part of his career, posting a career-high seven touchdown catches in 1981 at the age of 31.
After 12 seasons with the Jets, Barkum still ranks highly on the team’s all-time receiving list in multiple categories. His 40 career touchdown receptions are the fourth-highest mark in Jets history, trailing only Hall of Famer Don Maynard, Wayne Chrebet and Wesley Walker. His 4,789 career receiving yards rank No. 8 in franchise history (second among tight ends, trailing only Mickey Shuler), while his 326 career receptions are ninth-most in team history.