Derrick Jensen grew up in Osawatomie, Kansas. While in high school, Jensen led the Osawatomie Trojans to their first and so far only state championship in 1973. (OHS won its first state football championship in 1968 led by future Green Bay Packers QB Lynn Dickey) After graduating from Osawatomie High School, Jensen attended Texas-Arlington. Jensen was a two-time Southland Conference MVP while at Texas-Arlington. He finished his career with 3,346 rushing yards, the first player in conference history to top 3,000 yards.
Jensen was a third-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders in 1978 and played in 106 games, starting 21, in his career, including a streak of 105 straight. He served as the captain of the Raiders’ special teams for five seasons and contributed a blocked punt, which he recovered for the first touchdown, in the Raiders’ 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. He was also part of the Raiders’ Super Bowl XV championship team. He finished his Raiders career with 780 yards on 224 carries, with five touchdowns. He added 44 receptions and three scores and returned an onside kick 33 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants in 1980.