March 20, 2014

By Barbara BakerRandy Gradishar

As a late addition to make the Northeastern Junior College Foundation’s  2014 Hope Benefit on Saturday even more special,  Foundation Executive Director Gail LaForce has announced that those lucky enough to have purchased a ticket before the sellout  last week will have a chance to see and hear Randy Gradishar speak.

Gradishar was the leader of the Denver Broncos legendary Orange Crush Defense back in the 1970s and continues to be involved with the Broncos program to date.

He will take the stage after the crowd has taken their seats for dinner and will share stories of his time as a Bronco.  It will be a great time for those who remember him to reminisce about the Orange Crush days and for those who are not familiar with him, to get acquainted with someone who continues to be famously associated with pro-football.

Gradishar graduated from the Ohio State University in 1974. He was an All-American and All Big Ten player, who went on to be a seven time NFL All-Pro player. He played in the Super Bowl XII in 1977 and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1978.  He retired from football in 1983. Since that time he has been  named to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame (1989) and to the College Football Hall of Fame (1999).

In his retirement, Gradishar  was activity involved in the Denver Broncos Youth Foundation and was a staff member of the Promise Keepers Organization.  In 1997 he joined the team of Phil Long Auto Dealerships and was most recently name the corporate communications director., representing the dealerships and partnering with the community and non-profit organizations. He also  now serves as president of The Phil Long Community Fund.  Considered by Woody Hays to be the “best linebacker I ever coached,”  Randy has spent significant time in the last ten years going oversees to visit troops. He has been in Baghdad, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar. He’s also traveled to Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.

Those attending the Hope event will have an opportunity visit and have photos taken with Mr. Gradishar.  He is also donating an autographed shirt to be sold at the auction which will follow his talk.

Former Denver Bronco stand-out Randy Gradishar will be in Sterling on Saturday night to mix with the locals during the sold out 2014 Northeastern Junior College Foundation Hope Benefit. (Photo courtesy of The Denver Post)