Boyhood and collegiate career
Jenke was born Noel Charles Jenke on December 17, 1946 in Owatonna, Minnesota. He attended Owatonna High School, where he lettered each of his three high school years in three sports, football, basketball, and baseball, captaining each in his senior year. He also played on a local hockey team that won state championships and played in national tournaments.
He attended the University of Minnesota, where he again lettered in three sports, three times in football, three in hockey, and one in baseball. Honors included captaincy of the football team, AP All Big Ten 1st Team and All Big Ten Academic 1st team in football, All American (Sporting News), All Big Ten, 1969 baseball, among others. He was the first athlete in university history to letter in three sports, and to be drafted by professional teams in the same three sports.
Jenke was drafted in the first round of the 1969 Major League Baseball Draft. He would play three seasons of professional baseball with the Louisville Colonels (AAA), Winston-Salem Red Sox (A), and the Pawtucket Red Sox (AA).
Jenke was drafted in the twelfth round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and played that season with the team. He was a member of the Atlanta Falcons the following season before playing two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.