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NY Jets: Remembering each member of the New York Sack Exchange

NY Jets, Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons, Abdul Salaam, Mark Gastineau
NY Jets, Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons, Abdul Salaam, Mark Gastineau / Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Joe Klecko
NY Jets, Joe Klecko / Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Joe Klecko, DE/DT/NT, NY Jets

Joe Klecko played for the Jets from 1977 to 1987. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL Draft after playing his college football at Temple. He led the Owls in tackles from 1974 to 1976 and also won two NCAA boxing titles in the heavyweight division for the school.

While playing for the Jets, Klecko personified grit and toughness and was the true example of a blue-collar player. What set him apart from the other members of the Sack Exchange was his ability to excel at both stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.

Klecko was selected to four Pro Bowls and in 1981 was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year. In that same year, he led the league with 20.5 sacks. Overall, Klecko started 131 games for Gang Green, but what stood out the most was his ability to excel at multiple positions.

In 1983, Klecko was moved from defensive end to defensive tackle and in his first year at his new position, he was selected to the Pro Bowl. In 1985, Klecko was moved again this time from defensive tackle to nose tackle and he earned All-Pro honors while registering 96 tackles and 7.5 sacks.

Joe Klecko became only the second player in league history after Frank Gifford to be selected to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. In 2004, the Jets retired his number 73 and in 2010, Klecko was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor.

Klecko was an outstanding football player and it still remains a mystery as to why he has not been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps, had Klecko excelled at just one position, it would have enhanced his chances of selection into the Hall of Fame, but many believe that it was his versatility at multiple positions which made him most deserving of this honor.

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Hopefully, one day in the near future, Joe Klecko will get the recognition that he so rightly deserves.

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