Ron Jessie

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Ron Jessie
No. 89, 81
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1948-02-04)February 4, 1948
Place of birth: Yuma, Arizona
Date of death: January 13, 2006(2006-01-13) (aged 57)
Place of death: Huntington Beach, California
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school: Yuma (AZ)
College: Kansas
NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 8 / Pick: 206
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games: 138
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Ron Ray Jessie (February 4, 1948 - January 13, 2006) was a professional American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills. His best season came in 1976 with the Los Angeles Rams, when he was named to the Pro Bowl. He played college football at the University of Kansas.

Early years[edit]

Jessie attended Yuma High School where he was a three-sport athlete: all-division in basketball, all-state in football and track & field.

After high school, he initially enrolled at Arizona Western College, before transferring to Imperial Valley College, where he played as a wide receiver and was a part of the track & field squad.

Jessie received a scholarship from the University of Kansas where he also practiced both sports. He was a part of the school's national championship track team in 1969, while winning the NCAA indoor long jump championship and receiving All-American honors.[1] He also practiced high jump and the high hurdles.

In football, he played running back in the same backfield with John Riggins and was also used as a split end. He finished with 33 receptions for 644 yards, more than 1,500 total yards in offense and 5 touchdowns. In 1970, he set a school record with 494 kickoff return yards.

In 2010, he was inducted into the Imperial Valley College Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Jessie was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round (206th overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. On July 27, 1971, he was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice (#93-Chuck Zapiec).[3]

Detroit Lions[edit]

As a rookie, he contributed mainly on kickoff returns. The next year, he became a starter at wide receiver and the team's deep threat, which included an 82-yard touchdown reception.

On April 8, 1974, he signed with the Birmingham Americans of the World Football League, but the team folded before he could report.[4] He finished the season ranked as the sixth leading wide receiver in the NFL with 761 yards and fourth in receptions (54).[5]

The courts ruled in favor of the National Football League Players Association and a new form of free agency was briefly instituted in 1975. After playing out his contract, he was signed by the Los Angeles Rams, but then commissioner Pete Rozelle mandated the team to send the Lions their number one draft choice along with Cullen Bryant as compensation.[6] Bryant filed for a temporary restraining order from the courts and would never play for the Lions.[7] The Lions eventually traded the Rams first round draft choice to the Chicago Bears, in exchange for their first (James Hunter) and third round pick (Russ Bolinger).

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

His best season was in 1976, when he was voted to the Pro Bowl after registering 34 receptions for 779 yards and 6 touchdowns. The next year, he was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a knee injury against the San Francisco 49ers.[8]

In 1979, he was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a broken leg against the New Orleans Saints,[9] that also prevented him from playing in the 31-19 Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On July 31, 1980, he was traded to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a seventh-round draft choice.[10]

Buffalo Bills[edit]

Jesse was used in a reserve role during his 2 years with the Buffalo Bills.

Personal life[edit]

After retiring as a player, he became a scout for the Los Angeles Rams. He died in 2006, after suffering a heart attack in his Huntington Beach home.[11]

In 1997, after playing basketball for the University of Utah, his son Brandon Jessie was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Giants.[12]


  1. ^ "Huddler Jessie Joins Jayhawks For Grid Drills". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Current IVC Hall-of-Fame Members". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Chargers trade Post to Denver". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Lions Lose Jessie To Birmingham Club". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Rams sign Ron Jessie". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Just before retirement, Rozelle reflects". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Lions, Rozelle Rule Cut Down by Judge". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Rams still not happy after win". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Bills get Ron Jessie from Rams". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Former Rams receiver Ron Jessie dies". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Colts Call A Late Timeout On Deal To Sign Cowboy". Retrieved September 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]