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Former Saints linebacker, NFL Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson receives his college degree at age 65

“I was so close to it that it made no sense to not get it,” he said, describing his return to finish his degree.
Credit: AP
Former New Orleans Saints and Hall of fame player Rickey Jackson watches teams play during the first half of an NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

PITTSBURGH — Former New Orleans Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson has a long list of achievements during his NFL career, and today he can add one more personal achievement to that list; college graduate.

Last week the NFL Hall of Famer, five-time second-team All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler, and Saints’ “Dome Patrol” member was among 2,500 students of the Class of 2023 graduating from the University of Pittsburgh.

At age 65, Jackson received his degree in Social Sciences from the College of General Studies. His graduation comes 40 years after leaving the university to enter the NFL Draft.

Jackson was just two history courses away from finishing his degree before he began his journey in the NFL.

“I was so close to it that it made no sense to not get it,” he said, describing his return to finish his degree.

He finished his courses online as he split his time between New Orleans and his hometown of Pahokee, Florida.

Jackson says he was thinking of his parents when he returned to Pittsburgh to receive his degree at the commencement ceremony.

“My mother would’ve loved it, my father wanted me to get it,” he said. “I know they’d be proud of me,” he said.

Jackson says getting his degree ranks high among his career achievements which include New Orleans Saints Ring of Honor recipient, and Super Bowl champion.

“I’d put it up with the Super Bowl and all,” he said. “This is something I achieved personally on my own, so I’d put it right up with that.”

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