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Today in Sports History: 4/29 – Bo Jackson Selected First in 1986 NFL Draft

Today in sports history (1986), Bo Jackson was selected first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson was one of the most coveted players after his college career at Auburn. Coming out of college, Jackson was compared with the likes of OJ Simpson and Herschel Walker. One scout even called him the next Jim Brown. Much like Eli Manning and John Elway, there was controversy surrounding Jackson when he got drafted.

The Buccaneers held the first pick and Jackson reiterated to them that he did not want to play in Tampa. This was due in part to Jackson being suspended from playing college baseball due to a trip he went on with Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse. Culverhouse had allegedly told Jackson that this trip would not affect his college baseball status. Jackson believed that this was an attempt to sabotage his baseball career.

Bo Jackson eventually turned down a contract from the Bucs to sign with the Kansas City Royals. He was then subsequently drafted in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders.

Bo Jackson today in sports history
Credit: Mike Powell/Getty Images

Bo Jackson Selected in the 1986 and 1987 NFL Drafts

Bo Jackson was attracted to the Raiders because of Al Davis’ willingness to let him play both sports. He eventually joined the Raiders in Week 8 of the 1987 season against the Patriots. He finished the game with 37 yards on eight rushes. Jackson was listed as the team’s fullback, due to Marcus Allen also playing for the Raiders. Jackson did not have a notable rookie year in the NFL, with his best game coming on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks. Outspoken Seattle linebacker Brian Bosworth said that he could contain Jackson.

In what has now become a classic clip, Jackson blasted through a Bosworth tackle for a touchdown. Jackson also ripped off a 91-yard rush. He finished this game with 221 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He added another touchdown through the air. Jackson finished his rookie year with 554 rushing yards and six touchdowns, two through the air.

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