Randy Gradishar moved one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday when he was named a senior finalist for the 2024 class.
Gradishar, 71, played for the Denver Broncos from 1974-1983. After Wednesday’s practice session, current Broncos coach Sean Payton reacted to the news.
“I think the first item of business would be congratulating Randy Gradishar on becoming a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Payton said. “We just had the chance to introduce him to our team and read through his statistics, years played, and never missing a game.
“It’s pretty remarkable. Congratulations to him, his family and those teammates that were part of a lot of great defenses, and certainly, really good teams later in his career.”
Payton recalled collecting 7-Eleven NFL Slurpee cups featuring Alan Page and Gradishar while growing up.
“You’d have a stack in your room,” Payton said of the cups. “Then they were so sticky that your mom would just throw them away someday and wouldn’t tell you. I can remember those defenses very well.”
Gradishar led the team’s famous “Orange Crush” defense that helped the team reach their first Super Bowl following the 1977 season.