American Football Database
Ron Jessie
No. 89, 81     
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
Career information
College: Kansas
NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 8 / Pick: 206
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* Dallas Cowboys ( 1971)*
Career highlights and awards
* NCAA indoor long jump champion (1969)
Games played     138
Stats at

Ron Ray Jessie (February 4, 1948 – January 13, 2006) was an 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

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 with a leap of 25-2.5 and receiving All-American honors.[1] In other track meets, he high jumped 6-6 and was timed at 13.8 seconds in the 110 metres 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.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys

Jessie was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the eighth round (206th overall) of the 1971 NFL Draft. On July 27, he was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice (#93-Chuck Zapiec).[2]

Detroit Lions

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.[3] He finished the season ranked as the sixth leading wide receiver in the NFL with 761 yards and fourth in receptions (54).[4]

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 (#8-Dennis Lick) along with Cullen Bryant as compensation.[5] Bryant filed for a temporary restraining order from the courts and would never play for the Lions.[6] The Lions eventually traded the Rams first round draft choice to the Chicago Bears, in exchange for their first (#10-James Hunter) and third round pick (#68-Russ Bolinger).

Los Angeles Rams

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.[7]

In 1979, he was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a broken leg against the New Orleans Saints,[8] 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 (#187-Victor Simmons).[9]

Buffalo Bills

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

Personal life

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.[10]

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.[11]


  1. "Huddler Jessie Joins Jayhawks For Grid Drills".,5479332. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  2. "Chargers trade Post to Denver".,1664072. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  3. "Lions Lose Jessie To Birmingham Club".,4237446. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  4. "Rams sign Ron Jessie".,2903026. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  5. "Just before retirement, Rozelle reflects".,1166962. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  6. "Lions, Rozelle Rule Cut Down by Judge".,2582472. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  7. "Rams still not happy after win".,791944. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  8. "Transactions".,5126214. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  9. "Bills get Ron Jessie from Rams".,249879. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  10. "Former Rams receiver Ron Jessie dies". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  11. "Changing of The Guard". Retrieved February 19, 2018.

External links