In the twentieth of Thin Air’s series on considerations for the Broncos Ring of Fame is Rulon Jones (1980-1988).
Bob describes Rulon Jones as a bit of a shooting star as far as his NFL career goes:
Jones took a couple of years to blossom – in his third and fourth seasons (1982 and 1983), the first two years sacks were kept as an official stat, he had six sacks in 21 games (the 1982 season was the strike-shortened season).
Then Jones exploded onto the scene in the next three seasons, racking up 34.5 sacks and getting two Pro Bowl nods and one All-Pro nod. Sadly, injuries took their toll on him, to the point that he had to enter a rotational role in his final season, then retire the next year when he was just 31 years old.
So why do I rank Jones lower than Chavous? Answer: Because Jones wasn’t paired with a defensive end who took attention away from him. With that said, I will not argue that Jones’ contributions are sometimes overlooked and, if not for injuries, he might have built himself a Hall of Fame career.
I’m sure that this is an unfortunate trend for all 32 NFL teams given the brutal nature of the sport, but as we’ve seen in this series, there are several players in addition to Jones (Ryan Clady, Al Wilson, John Mobley) that could have been much more if it weren’t for injuries.