Posts by :
When asked about the top defensive backs not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ken Riley’s name is always on the list. However, he never received the recognition that he deserved during his playing career. In his 15-year tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, he led the league in interceptions three times and is currently ranked fifth all-time in career interceptions. Riley felt that his demeanor may be the reason for his exclusion. “I am low key. I always thought that if you go out and do your job, you will get rewarded. Unfortunately, if you do not go out and be flashy or do some things that bring attention to yourself, your stats do not mean anything.”
Riley was not always a defensive back. Throughout high school and college, he played quarterback. He was the starter at Florida A&M from 1966 through 1968, and in 1968, he led the team in points scored and touchdowns.
When it comes to interceptions in the NFL, the record holder for the most is Paul Krause, who, from 1964-79 intercepted an astounding 81 passes. He is in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Next on the list is Emlen Tunnell, who not only intercepted 79 passes from 1948-61, but he was also the first African-American to play for the New York Giants. He is also in the Hall of Fame.
If you go down one spot, you’ll find Steeler great Rod Woodson, who, from 1987-03, intercepted 71 passes, the third most in NFL history. He is also in the Hall of Fame. Coming in with 68 interceptions is Dick “Night Train” Lane, who played for the Lions from 1952-65. He is also in the Hall of Fame.
Ken Riley, Lemar Parrish, and Tommy Casanova formed one of the greatest secondaries of all time during the 1970’s. Although they played offense in college Paul Brown had them playing like All-Pros from day one. While they were together from 1972-1977 their pass defense was ranked 4th, 13th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd, 23rd in the NFL.
Ken “The Rattler” Riley was a flawless technician at conerback. Who used his play at quarterback at Florida A&M to have perfect anticipation skills of what the quarterback was doing in the NFL. Riley was a modest person on the field and a highly dignified man off the field and is part of the Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. Riley was an impact player throughout his 15 season career with the Bengals. Riley had amazing ball skills for a defensive player as he was able to catch everything that came his way. Riley was also known for hitting the wide reciever right when he jumped for the ball in the legs causing them to flip over on there head and jarring the ball loose. He not only played for legendary coach Paul Brown but also another legendary coach in Jake Gaither at Florida A&M. Riley recorded 65 interceptions in his career, which was the fourth most in Pro Football history at the time of his retirement.
By RICK BROWN, THE LEDGER
Although the play took place more than 28 years ago, former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley recalls the play as if it happened just a few minutes earlier.
By RICK BROWNTHE LEDGER Although the play took place more than 28 years ago, former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Ken Riley recalls the play as if it happened just a few minutes earlier.
Playing against San Francisco in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., the first Super Bowl for both teams, it was San Francisco’s first possession in the first quarter.
“(San Francisco quarterback Joe) Montana threw an out,” Riley recalled. “I read it perfectly. I probably could have intercepted the pass and scored but I was hesitant. I knocked the ball down but I laid back. I still see it. I was afraid if I didn’t get it, it could have been a touchdown the other way. I still think about that play.”