Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to help me in making the argument why Rickey Jackson belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Saints' fans bombed my mailbag with answers and I read every one of them. I also talked to some people around the league who were around when Jackson was in his prime. All that helped me prepare to write my argument for Jackson, which will appear on this blog later Wednesday.
Thanks for all your help. It gave me a sense of what the people who watched most closely thought of Jackson.
My editors suggested we limit the Jackson argument to around 100 words so we could mix in the cases for some other candidates. I went over the 100 words, but I still didn't come close to using all the passionate information you gave me.
With that in mind, I decided to run some of your letters here.
Roger in New Orleans writes: From a personal perspective. I'm 61. I've been a Saints fan from the beginning. Maybe lunch pail doesn't count for much these days - I don't know. I do know that Rickey Jackson came to work every day. He loved football and he was very good at it. He played on some really awful teams and a few fair-to-decent teams in NO. It didn't matter - his excellent production as a player was consistent throughout his career. If this guy had played in most other NFL cities, he would already be in the HoF. I've read that Ricky is behind in his child support payments - I don't know that for a fact. I don't recall any off-field issues while he was a Saint. I really loved this guy playing for my team - I sure wish we had him now.
Sam in New Orleans writes: Rickey Jackson is one of the most under rated player in NFL history. Ricky was the Saints for many years. When you start talking best Saints player ever, Ricky is right there with Archie Manning as the #1 guy. Ricky was the leader of quite possibly the best linebacker corp to ever be assembled ( The Dome Patrol) with Sam Mills ( also should be in the HOF), Pat Swilling, and Vaughn Johnson. Jackson was the fuel that made this unit run. Rickey Jackson was not blessed with superior atheletic ability, he just out worked everyone he faced on every play no matter what! Ricky had heart and pride and made everyone else around him better. To me the first question you have to ask when talking about the HOF is how did the guy change the game. Rickey did!! I feel Rickey Jackson is exactly what the HOF should be about.
Alex in Pensacola writes: Besides City Champ's (RJ's nickname in NOLA) stats that speak for themselves, check out NO's defense stats from 1992: (also the yr all 4 Saint linebackers started the Pro Bowl, no other team has had all of their LB's start at the same time at the Pro Bowl)1992 NO Defense: Allowed 202 points (12.6/g), 1st.
Scott in Slidell, La., writes: Rickey was an elite linebacker in the LT era. he finished his career with 4.5 less sacks than taylor on a team that was not even close to the caliber as the giants. in fact, the saints made four playoff appearances thanks in large part to jackson, mills, johnson and swilling...THE DOME PATROL. his career stats are far better than andre tippet, who made the hall recently. this is a joke, man!!! first, tippet does not measure up to THE CITY CHAMP statistically...second, tippet never won a super bowl...jackson started in super bowl xxix for the 49ers and got his ring...he has 29 career fumble recoveries, 128.5 sacks and would have easily made more than six pro bowls if the league would not have been reluctant to take all saints LBs to hawaii until 1992. it is really a joke that he isn't in already....i can go on and on...he was as tough a leader as i have ever seen. his record speaks for itself.
Robert in Jefferson, Ga., writes: Rickey Jackson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he was the heart of the greatest linebacking unit of all time. Besides the fact that his statistics are right there with Lawrence Taylor he was definatly one of the best of all time. Jackson had heart like no other and pushed the entire team with his will. It would be a shame that such a great player would not make the hall of fame.
George in Westwood, Mass., writes: Missed 13 games in a 16 year career, finishing his career with 6 straight, full seasons -Has a super bowl ring-Played in every game as a rookie-2nd most fumble recoveries as an LB-28 sacks ahead of HOF'er Andre Tippett-The best linebacker of the best linebacking corp of all time.