NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - He was known as one of the toughest men in the NFL, and word of Rickey Jackson going in for brain surgery caught former teammates off guard.
“He was doing great, we grab lunch every once in a while. He’s great,” said former teammate Rich Mauti.
Jackson is reportedly out of surgery and in recovery, with FOX 8′s Sean Fazende tweeting out that Jackson’s family “is very appreciative of the well wishes, and prayers for Rickey” - good news for those who know him.
“You just think about everything Jackson did for the Saints and the community, #57 is one of those hallowed numbers in Saints history,” said former Saints executive Jim Miller.
Jackson played for the Saints for 12 years, then played two years for the San Francisco 49ers, where he won a Super Bowl ring. He sacked quarterbacks 128 times with the Saints, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.
But friends say behind his tough demeanor, Jackson is a jokester.
“He has a wry sense of humor, that impish grin. When you were joking with him, one-on-one he was a pussycat, 11 on 11 he was a tiger,” said Miller.
Jackson is a proponent of men’s health and was recently involved in a prostate screening event at a local hospital.
Now, all who know Rickey pray for a speedy recovery.
“There’s not a person out there who doesn’t like Rickey. His personality is infectious. We’re all concerned and keeping him in our prayers,” said Mauti.
Friends hope that the man called “city champ” will be up and around town again very soon.
The Saints tweeted out: “On behalf of Gayle Benson and the entire Saints organization, our thoughts and prayers are with Rickey Jackson for a speedy recovery from his medical procedure today.”
Jackson is a six-time Pro-Bowler.