Gradishar was the 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and made seven Pro Bowls while being selected to the All-Pro first team twice as a linebacker for the “Orange Crush” stop unit of the Denver Broncos from 1974-83.
He finished his career with 20 interceptions and more than 2,000 tackles but was passed over repeatedly for induction into the sport’s most exclusive club.
At Ohio State, Gradishar was a two-time All-American in 1972 and ‘73.
He recorded a then-school record 320 total tackles and still ranks 12th in tackles at Ohio State.
The backbone of an Ohio State defense that allowed just 64 points and shut out four opponents, Gradishar was sixth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy in 1973, and he ended up being selected All-Big Ten three times.
Gradishar will be the 10th former Ohio State player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Middletown native Cris Carter, Sid Gillman, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Dick LeBeau, Orlando Pace, Jim Parker, Paul Warfield and Bill Willis.
NFL Films founder Ed Sabol is also credited to Ohio State after being a swimmer for the Buckeyes.
Thursday night was a big for for Ohio State and NFL honors.
Aside from Gradishar’s honor being revealed, former OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and defensive lineman Cam Hayward became the second Ohio State alumnus to be named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, a prestigious honor recognizing his work in the community.
Stroud is the sixth Buckeye in the last eight years to win an AP Rookie of the Year honor, joining Joey Bosa, Marshon Lattimore, Nick Bosa, Chase Young and Garrett Wilson.
Carter was also named WPMOY in 1999.