By Eric Allen
Senior Reporter | @eallenjets
Will Joe Klecko's final rush place him on the all-time team in Canton, OH?
For a large portion of Klecko’s 12-year run in the National Football League, he was unblockable. The Jets’ defensive line dynamo excelled at multiple positions and is one of three players in league history, along with Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and Frank Gifford, to have gone to the Pro Bowl at three positions.
“He was one of the most unique performers in NFL history,” said MMQB’s Peter King, who is a member of the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
While both Hampton (DE, DT and NT) and Gifford (DB, HB and Flanker) are in the Hall, Klecko has not yet gained an invite to join the immortals. After first becoming a modern-day candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, the former Jets stalwart will be considered as a senior candidate for a fourth consecutive summer.
“I think it’s time for Joe Klecko to get that nod. I really believe that,” said Hall of Famer Howie Long, a former Raiders defensive lineman who went to eight Pro Bowls. “This is not something I’ve been saying over the last four or five years. It’s something I said in the year 2000 when I was inducted. I am a big believer in his impact on the game, and that he was dominant, and that he did it at three different positions is pretty remarkable.”
Myth Begins with Jim Jones
In the trenches, Klecko owned superhero-like strength. But his rise to NFL elite began with an initial block as he was turned away when he tried out for the Saint James HS football team in Chester, PA.
“I had gone out when I was a freshman in high school and I had lined up against one of the big guys. They had a plank drill to see who was the toughest and who would knock who off the board,” he said. “I lined up and one of the coaches told me to get out of there before I got hurt. I was so shy. I got embarrassed and I left.”
The son of a truck driver, Klecko got his 1955 Chevy ready for drag races and put in long hours at his uncle’s service station in the summer. Klecko eventually decided to play his senior year after growing three inches and adding 60 pounds. He flourished at defensive end and became an all-state performer.
Success was fleeting as there were no scholarship offers. Klecko went to work driving trucks and later joined the Ashton Knights, a semi-pro team in the Seaboard Football League.
“I would get on the bus for a road trip and I was wet behind the ears like nobody’s business,” Klecko said. “I’m 18 years old and they’re getting cases of beer and bottles of liquor for the ride home. I’m like this is new to me; it’s crazy. It was the guys who were the real nuts and bolts of football back then.”
The Knights knew they had a promising talent in Klecko and they wanted to protect his long-term college prospects. To ensure Klecko maintained amateur status, they made up a fictitious name for the tough kid of Polish origin.
“They said you’re going to be Jim Jones from Poland University,” Klecko said. “They pulled the name out of a hat and it would be fine enough to keep me under the radar.”
But it’s difficult to keep overpowering defensive ends under the radar. Aston equipment manager John DiGregorio took the same job with Temple, and he alerted Owls head coach Wayne Hardin of “Jim Jones.” Klecko would gain eligibility and suit up for Temple between 1973 and 1976, twice making the All-East team and receiving All-American mention his junior and senior campaigns. After sitting one game, Klecko never came off the field.
“The football field is where I made my name. I remember my first game, we played Boston College and I didn’t play until the end of the game,” he said. “Hardin came up to me at the end of the game and said, ‘Hey, Joe. What do you think of that, huh?’ I turned and said, ‘That sucked.’”
A Fighter by His Trade
When he wasn’t wreaking havoc in college backfields while leading the Owls in tackles the last three seasons, Klecko found a home in the boxing ring and participated in Temple’s boxing club.
“I never realized it until a little bit into my career about having quick hands, how much it’s emphasized in football,” he said. “From punching the bags all the time and getting quicker, it really worked out. We used to have a phrase on the field: ‘Whoever gets in first, wins.’
“I’ve never been beaten at it. I’ve never had anybody I’ve ever played against get their hands inside of me before I got mine inside of him,” he continued. “That was one of the keys that made me what I was.”
Klecko’s farm boy strength and competitiveness were legendary. At 12, he was tearing apart boilers in basements of big buildings and carrying them out by himself. Nobody could handle Klecko in college and opponents didn’t dare run the ball against Temple’s middle guard. He expected to be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles as his hometown team had informed his agent they were going to select him.
“They had the last pick of the first day. I didn’t get drafted,” he said. “I went to bed and I was livid, steam was coming out of my ears. The next morning I’m lying in bed and the phone rings.”
The New York Jets informed Klecko they were taking him in Round No. 6 of the 1977 NFL Draft. Klecko didn’t have any expectations, but veteran teammates told him the numbers didn’t work. The Green & White had selected Texas A&M DE Tank Marshall in the third round and Klecko was buried on the depth chart. Klecko recalled Marshall went to injured reserve with a toenail injury, and the rookie from Temple made an early impression on the practice field.
“I remember the first team comes out and they said we’re going half speed. I wasn’t,” he said. “I came out and drilled the fullback in the backfield and they’re calling me every name in the book. I said, ‘Listen, guys. I don’t care what you say. I’m going to be back here all day. You can come out and get whatever you want, but you got a job and I don’t.’”
“You Block Him”
Klecko didn’t care who — he would fight anybody. It didn’t take long for NFL opposition to find out that he was a rare breed. Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure, a six-time first-team All-Pro performer for the Buffalo Bills, remembers one of Buffalo’s first encounters with Klecko at Shea Stadium on Dec. 11, 1977. The Bills asked center Willie Parker to reach-block Klecko while DeLamielleure, lined up at right guard, would pull.
“We ran the play one time, Joe made the tackle for a two-yard loss. We go back to it in the third quarter, can’t reach him again,” DeLamielleure said. “Parker is frustrated, saying he can’t block the freaking guy and doesn’t know why they keep calling the play.”
Later in the game, Klecko scored the technical knockout with a third sack and Parker waved the white flag.
“We call it again in the fourth quarter and Joe gets another sack,” DeLamielleure said. “It’s fourth down and we run off the field. Willie takes his helmet off, gives it to our (OL coach) and says, ‘You block him. I can’t block him. We cannot block him like this.’”
Starting six games his first campaign, Klecko racked up an NFL rookie-high eight QB sacks in 1977.
“He was just as strong as everything,” said John Hannah, a Hall of Fame guard who played 13 seasons for the Patriots and was a 10-time All-Pro. “If he ever got under you, he was going to plow you right back into the quarterback. You just couldn’t move him out of the hole. You had to turn him, but you couldn’t move him. The other thing was his quickness. He was just off the ball quick. He seemed to be able to lean on when the center was going to snap the ball. The combination of speed and quickness and having that strength to go along with it was just something you really had to contend with.”
By the end of his sophomore pro campaign, Klecko was already being called one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. Despite facing consistent double-team attention from his RDE spot in a 3-4 front, Klecko led the Jets for a second straight year with eight QB sacks.
“Klecko was a short guy who was powerful and played every play like it was his last,” DeLamielleure said. “Those are the tough guys to play against because most guys will take plays off or let the score dictate how hard they’re going to play. It didn’t matter what the score was. If they were up by 30 or down by 30 — you got the same guy every play.”
The Jets took a step forward in 1978, improving their win total by five games and finishing .500. The young Klecko was critical in the improvement, taking a no-nonsense approach and being a stickler for details.
“He was what I called an all-day sucker. In other words, there are a lot of guys who are great players but they would take a break every now and then,” Hannah said. “They’d rest and you could surprise them so to speak. But Joe, the only way I think he’d ever quit is if you got a gun and killed him. He was there every play, all day long.”
The Jets moved back to a 4-3 front in 1979 and shifted Klecko to defensive tackle. Named an alternate to the Pro Bowl, Klecko again paced New York’s AFC representative with seven sacks.
“Dan Sekanovich, our first defensive line coach, was a very big proponent of the pass rush,” Klecko said. “I learned a lot from Dan. He taught me how to play with leverage in a passing situation. I’d get a guy off balance and I’d just pick him up and throw him away.”
He led Jets defensive linemen with 110 tackles (70 solo) and the Jets were third in the NFL against the run. One of Klecko’s greatest proponents throughout the years has been Paul Zimmerman, a longtime contributor at Sports Illustrated who Peter King says believed in the “ethos” of the interior linemen on both sides of the ball.
“I think he viewed Klecko as an immovable object,” said King of his longtime friend Zimmerman, whose multiple strokes have left him unable to write and only speak a few words. “Paul had such great respect for great run players on both sides of the ball...and that’s why I think he really loved Klecko.”
Heart of the Sack Exchange
Although he notched 10.5 sacks in 1980, Klecko finished second on the squad as DE Mark Gastineau tallied 11.5. Klecko had at least one sack in eight of the 15 contests he appeared in, amassing six in the final six games. Displaying his unique versatility, the 6’3”, 265-pounder was back at defensive end.
Said Long, “Joe’s leverage point was so low and as most offensive tackles that played against him would attest to, his just pure raw strength, his quickness off the ball, his understanding of leverage and just sheer power — his game was not about finesse. It was not about being slick. For Joe, it was simple. You know what I’m going to do, I know what you’re going to do and stop me if you can.”
Nobody came close to stopping Klecko in 1981. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and was named Sports Illustrated’s NFL Player of the Year after leading the league and setting a club record with 20.5 sacks. Playing through a sprained foot, he also registered 107 tackles (72 solo).
“If I coach an offensive line and every one of them could do what Joe did with his hands, they would be amazing,” said HOF T Anthony Muñoz, an 11-time Pro Bowler. “He never had his hands out wide. For us offensive linemen, we always want to try to get our hands into the chest. When he came around to press the corner, he wasn’t exposing his chest like a lot of guys. His hands were right together in tight, so that’s why he was able to play the defensive end.”
“It just speaks to the diversity and the speed that he had,” Hannah said. “At defensive end, you don’t have to have the strength so to speak at defensive end that you have to have at tackle. It’s more of a speed position because you’re relying on them to get that upfield pass rush, contain that quarterback, keep him in the pocket and then get to him. It just speaks to the overall athletic ability that Joe had.”
According to the NFL, Klecko is listed as only having 24.0 sacks in his career. Sacks didn’t become an official statistic until 1982, so you have to dig to find Klecko’s 50.5 sacks over his first five seasons.
“People forget he put up 20.5 sacks in 1981 before sacks were considered an official statistic,” said Daily News NFL Columnist Gary Myers. “So you look at Joe’s stats on NFL.com or Pro Football Reference and it shows 24 career sacks, but it discounts sacks from his first four or five years in the league, including his most dominant season.”
The Jets led the NFL in 1981 with 66 sacks and the New York Sack Exchange was born after Klecko, Gastineau and DTs Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam were invited to ring the ceremonial opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
“The Sack Exchange was phenomenal and Mark Gastineau for a while was a gigantic impact player on the game,” King said. “But I think over time and at three different positions, you had to account for where Joe Klecko was every week. I think he was where offensive coordinators and offensive line coaches started their game-planning.”
“He was the heart of the Sack Exchange,” added Barry Wilner of The Associated Press. “I think that’s the best way to put it.”
The 1981 season was one of the best for any unit in NFL history. Gastineau finished with 20 sacks as the Jets’ bookends combined for 40.5. The tackle pair of Marty Lyons (six sacks) and Abdul Salaam (seven sacks) pushed the pocket in the middle.
For the first time since 1969, the Jets made the postseason. After spotting the Bills a 24-0 advantage at Shea Stadium, the Jets almost pulled off an improbable comeback before falling short, 31-27, in a Wild Card contest befitting its name. Nobody hated losing more than Klecko.
"Winning was the only ultimate goal,” he said. “I wanted to win a Super Bowl worse than anything in the world and I think that was the driving force for me to win. If you wanted to win, you’re in. If you didn’t want to win, I had something to say to you.”
Sometimes passion can lead to bad judgment.
In Week 2 of the 1982 season, the Jets were cruising to a victory over the Patriots at Schaefer Stadium. Klecko had two of his team’s six sacks of New England QB Matt Cavanaugh, and the Pats mustered only 57 total yards. With the game out of reach, Klecko exited to the sideline only to return and sustain a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee.
“It was stupid. I actually was playing and I got taken out because the game was in hand,” Klecko said. “Then New England had a score and I put myself back into the game like a nut and that’s when I broke my knee.”
Following that second regular-season weekend, the NFLPA went on strike and everyone headed to the sideline. The 57-day player absence reduced the schedule from 16 games to nine.
Klecko worked diligently with his rehabilitation and was reactivated for the playoffs. On one leg, the seven-year pro played a defensive snap in the Jets’ 44-17 Wild Card win over the Bengals in Cincinnati, then most of the second half in the 17-14 Divisional Round triumph over the Raiders in Los Angeles.
“Everybody said you’re not going to be able to do that and you may not ever play again, Joe,” Klecko said. “I came back and I wasn’t ready. The first game I played a little bit, and then the second game, and then of course against Miami, I played a lot. But I wasn’t totally ready.”
The Dolphins had the Jets’ number in 1982 and ended their Super Bowl hopes with a 14-0 shutout in the AFC Championship Game. The Mud Bowl, which featured a sloppy Orange Bowl field after days of South Florida rain, took away the Jets’ speed and ended a trying year for Klecko. He would never get that close to a title again.
Move to the Inside
Two years after being selected to the Pro Bowl as a defensive end, Klecko got his first invite as a defensive tackle for his 1983 efforts. He started three games at RDE and then was switched to LDT for the remaining 13 games. He had six sacks and finished with 107 tackles including 68 solo stops.
“If he played defensive tackle, I believe over time...let’s say he played that for 8-10 years,” King said. “I think he would have played it at a high enough level that everyone who watched him play would say, ‘That’s a Hall of Famer.’”
Many pundits believe defensive tackle was Klecko’s best position. Equally coachable and malleable, Klecko took his position changes with a grain of salt.
“It didn’t bother me at all, it didn’t bother me one bit,” he said. “What was the ultimate goal for me? It was to win.”
The Jets had identical 7-9 marks in Joe Walton’s first two seasons at head coach after he took over for Walt Michaels. Klecko appeared in his third Pro Bowl following the ’84 campaign, filling in for an injured Bob Baumhower. Slowed by hamstring issues, Klecko was limited to 11 starts with seven coming at LDT. He finished with three sacks and 47 tackles.
But the Jets made it back to the postseason in 1985 as Klecko quite possibly pulled off the most amazing season of his career. Starting 16 games at nose tackle in a 3-4 front, he became the first defensive player in NFL history to be selected to the Pro Bowl at three different positions.
“Believe it or not, I loved nose tackle the best,” Klecko said. “The reason being is everything happens quicker and I was able to react quicker than anybody else they could put in there or anybody else they played against.”
Defensive coordinator Bud Carson had Klecko line up on the center cocked at an angle, forcing opponents to provide help. Klecko not only occupied offensive linemen, but he racked up 7.5 sacks and 96 tackles and led the team with five forced fumbles.
“There are two things that in my opinion really separate Joe Klecko,” King said. “To play nose tackle at a Pro Bowl level after playing defensive end at a Pro Bowl level, that’s such a tremendous accomplishment aside from the fact that he was an impact player for a decade. Just the fact that he did it at those two distinct, unique positions says it all about him.”
Carson said most of the players at nose absorbed punishment while teammates would reap the benefit, referring to nose tackles as “garbage collectors.” But Klecko had other ideas, always the aggressor feeling at home in a phone booth.
“I’m quite familiar with his moves,” said former Seahawks center Blair Bush. “Some people call it a bull rush. We call it, ‘The Klecko Skate’ because when he hits you, it looks like you’re rolling backwards on skates.”
Long, who had 84 career sacks, says he moved his game forward by watching Klecko.
“I thought the real intricacy of Joe’s game and the technique and the pre-snap get-off and all of those things played more of a role when Joe went in over the guard as a defensive tackle and particularly over the nose,” Long said. “And I took a lot of the nose stuff, as I did with Joe Greene.”
Carson, who was the Steelers defensive coordinator from 1973-77, had Greene play the cocked nose stance in a 4-3 look. Greene, a 10-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro, would consistently explode off the ball, knock people down and wreak havoc. With the Jets, Carson asked Klecko to cover both gaps.
“Joe Greene did the cocked nose turned sideways,” Long said. “Joe did some of that but was also dominant head up. His quickness put so much pressure on the center and something as rudimentary and as simple as the snap of the football became a challenge for teams.”
Klecko had the freedom to line up on the left and move right even if the ball was coming back to the left. He insisted to Carson that he could get behind the center and back-door the play. And instead of waiting for the ball to be snapped, Klecko had his own key that he never revealed until recently.
“The quarterback is allowed to move his right foot before anything moves,” Klecko said. “Well, if I’m sitting here looking at your right foot, what do you think I’m going to do? Wait for the ball to be snapped? No, I’m going to move on that foot.”
With Kyle Clifton and Lance Mehl playing behind him, Klecko occupied blockers and let his linebackers flow to the football. Clifton tallied 160 tackles and Mehl, who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time, pitched in with 156 stops and 5.5 sacks.
“He was so stinking quick. Luckily for me, it worked out well,” Mehl said. “I played behind him when I was defensive end, and then I moved inside when he moved inside. So, I got to play behind him a lot and he just made my job a lot easier.”
Mehl, a defensive play caller who credited Klecko for handling any adjustments for the defensive linemen, said Klecko had “ridiculous” strength.
“If he was on one side of the center, he had both A-gaps and he had to control both gaps. That’s what was so impressive,” Mehl said. “He’d just grab the guard and the center back when you were allowed to do it, and he would stop them from getting out to the second level to block the linebacker. That’s what made him so good. Plus, he was so damn smart.”
End of the Road
Klecko started 10 games at nose in 1986 and he was the key cog of a rush defense that led the NFL after 11 games. He then missed four games following arthroscopic surgery and the defense surrendered at least 138 rush yards in each contest. He came back against the Steelers in Week 15, but was injured while in pursuit of QB Mark Malone.
“You could see the Jets deflated,” Wilner said of the Green & White sans Klecko. “I know that doesn’t really have to do with Joe’s personality or who Joe was, but the effect of him getting hurt really kind of impressed on you how important he was because he wasn’t there. In some ways, that’s the sign of a Hall of Famer too.”
In his 11th season, Klecko was limited to 11 games following reconstructive knee surgery. Jets team doctor James A. Nicholas advised him to retire, but he wasn’t ready and was released by the team in February 1988. The 34-year-old Klecko, who had two major knee operations and was told that his knee problems would get worse, signed a two-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s like crossing the 405 Freeway in LA, playing nose guard in the National Football League. Joe was dragging one leg behind, essentially playing with one leg,” Long said. “So, for me, that was as impressive as anything and showed what an incredible passion and love he had for the game and how disruptive he was still playing on one leg, in that spot on the nose, in a phone booth.”
He would gut it out one final season, starting 14 games for a Colts squad that finished 9-7 and remained in playoff contention until the final weekend. No longer the stat stuffer, Klecko collected 32 tackles and no sacks.
“I'm not sure this should be a retirement as much as it should be an ascension to the Hall of Fame,” said Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was the team’s GM in 1988. “He only spent a year here but his influence has rubbed off on some of our younger players.”
Climb Still Remains
The ascension has not gone according to plan. It’s been 28 years since Klecko retired. His eligibility as a Modern Era candidate for the Hall of Fame has expired. A man who seamlessly made the transition from playing outside to inside during his career has now been stuck on the outside for close to three decades.
“I’m shocked to be honest with you,” Hannah said. “At the same time, I’m not because he never was on a real championship team. Unfortunately people only think the players who finished in championship games are worthy to be considered great players. But Joe was an unbelievable player and because he wasn’t on a lot of championship teams, he’s been overlooked.”
A four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro, Klecko helped the Jets earn playoff appearances in 1981, '82, '85 and '86.
“The thing that probably hurts Joe is that the Jets never made it to the Super Bowl during his years with the team,” Myers said. “But they did make it to a conference championship game. He got hurt early that season, but made it back for the playoffs so he was one step away from the Super Bowl.”
Klecko played 12 seasons in the NFL and he was a standout in nine of those.
“Technique, intensity and want. You’re not a sixth-round pick and become a star,” DeLamielleure said. “He became a star. Go down a roster, how many sixth-round picks are in the Hall of Fame? How many defensive tackles are in the Hall of Fame that didn’t play in a Super Bowl? I think that’s one of the things that hurts a lot of guys, that they don’t have the ring. Give me a break.”
More than a shooting star, the knee injuries held him back in ’82 and ’87. But even in those final 15 games with the Colts, Klecko helped instill a culture.
"I really appreciate the stability you brought our team last year,” Colts head coach Ron Meyer told him upon his retirement. “You epitomize what we all want (all our) players to aspire to."
A Great Player
Joe Klecko never quit and he had no fear. He compiled a 25-2 record as a collegiate boxer at Temple and earned a few sparring sessions with former heavyweight champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier.
“I was noted for my right hand, so I went in there to set Joe up for a right hand,” Klecko said of his experience at Cloverlay Gym in Philadelphia. “Like Joe Frazier never saw anybody set him up for a right hand. Joe used to be noted for his left hook and he stopped it right next to my head.”
Frazier didn’t hit Klecko and the latter escaped damage. Klecko’s ring was on the field and that is where his championship mentality was always on display.
“Don’t lose. Don’t lose your individual battles and you’ll win the game,” he said. “It starts play by play.”
Klecko was a Hall of Fame competitor and played in an era when the game did not feature specialists. He also recorded a franchise-tying five blocks on special teams.
“My litmus test for players is are you great on every down or are you great every once in a while,” Long said.
Klecko’s peers are still amazed by his determination and his effort.
“I had Joe Greene and Merlin Olsen. I put Joe right in there with them. He was a great player,” DeLamielleure said. “The difference between Joe and all the players you played against, he never took a play off. Ever. It was all-out. It was like he wanted to play against his older brother or something and wanted to prove a point.”
Widely considered the greatest guard in NFL history, Hannah believes Klecko is one of the two best players he ever played against.
“The two guys in my mind who were the best all-around that I ever played in front of were Howie Long and Joe Klecko,” he said. “They were just the best all-around defensive tackles I ever saw.”
Anthony Muñoz, who is the most decorated offensive lineman in the history of the game, once said Klecko was “right there at the top of the defensive ends” he had to block while mentioning him with the likes of Fred Dean, Lee Roy Selmon and Bruce Smith.
“He had crazy strength, leverage and smarts,” Muñoz said. “You see a lot of guys who have strength, but they don’t have the ability to mentally counter, mentally adjust not only from play to play, series to series, but during your move.”
Not His Fight
In the coming weeks, the Seniors Committee members will reduce the list to 15 Senior Nominee Finalists. Then five members of the nine-person Seniors Committee, selected on a rotating basis, will meet in Canton, OH and nominate two candidates to be among the finalists for Hall of Fame election. Those two Senior Nominees must receive the same minimum 80% of the vote as the Modern Era candidates to be elected.
“I think Joe gets into the room, he gets into the Hall of Fame,” Wilner said. “So, the battle is let’s get him into the room.”
This is the one battle that Joe Klecko cannot fight himself for this is not his fight. He did all he could do and that youngster with the farm boy strength is now 63 years old.
When is his time?
"The Hall of Fame would be in a lot better standing with a guy like Joe in it,” Muñoz said.
“I think it would be an honor for the Hall of Fame,” said Hannah of a Klecko induction. “I know it would be nice for Joe, but I think not having Joe in the Hall of Fame is really kind of a slur against the Hall of Fame.”
Hall of Fame G Joe DeLamielleure
“I had Joe Greene and Merlin Olsen. I put Joe right in there with them. He was a great player. The difference between Joe and all the players you played against, he never took a play off. Ever. It was all-out. It was like he wanted to play against his older brother or something and wanted to prove a point.”
Hall of Fame G John Hannah
“I think it would be an honor for the Hall of Fame. I know it would be nice for Joe, but I think not having Joe in the Hall of Fame is really kind of a slur against the Hall of Fame.”
“The two guys in my mind who were the best all-around that I ever played in front of were Howie Long and Joe Klecko. They were just the best all-around defensive tackles I ever saw.”
Hall of Fame DT Howie Long
“I think it’s time for Joe Klecko to get that nod. I really believe that. This is not something I’ve been saying over the last four or five years. It’s something I said in the year 2000 when I was inducted. I am a big believer in his impact on the game, and that he was dominant, and that he did it at three different positions is pretty remarkable.”
Hall of Fame T Anthony Muñoz
“I played against Joe Klecko several times. To me, in my humble opinion, he is one of the best and should be in. The Hall of Fame is for those who deserve to be in and Joe deserves to be in. The Hall of Fame would be in a lot better standing with a guy like Joe in it.”
Hall of Fame C Dwight Stephenson
“You watched him and were amazed by the way he played the game. He was a dominating and devastating defensive lineman. He really was. No one played the game better than him. Joe Klecko hands down needs to be in the Hall of Fame. Plain and simple.”