On the weekend of the Pro Bowl, The NFL world mourns the loss of a former three-time Pro Bowler and New York Jets star. Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, longtime NFL tight end and receiver Richard Caster died at 75 this weekend. A family spokesman confirmed Caster died in his sleep Friday after a long fight with an illness. Caster also played for the Houston Oilers, Washington Redskins, and New Orleans Saints. He caught 322 passes for 5,515 yards and 45 scores during his NFL career.
Sad news: Former Jets star Richard Caster has passed away at the age of 75. He battled Parkinson’s Disease, per The Clarion-Ledger. Caster played for the #Jets from 1970 to 1977 and made three Pro Bowls. In the epic Namath-Unitas shootout in ‘72, Caster caught six passes for 204…
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) February 4, 2024
New York Jets TE Richard Caster: Former Second-Round Draft Pick
Caster, a six-foot-five, 228-pound tight end and wide receiver, was born in Mobile, Alabama, playing at Williamson High School before committing to play his college ball at Jackson State. The New York Jets selected Caster with the 46th overall pick in the 1970 NFL draft. Caster would become a star in the NFL, playing 13 years and making the Pro Bowl three times.
According to Pro-Football-Reference, among the 95 players from Jackson State to play in the NFL, Caster is only one of 11 alumni to make the Pro Bowl at least three times. Only fellow Jackson State Tigers Walter Payton, Coy Bacon, Harold Jackson, and Jackie Slater played more or as many NFL seasons as Caster.
Caster: Super Bowl Champion
As a rookie in 1970 with the New York Jets, Rich Caster caught 19 passes for 393 yards and three scores before becoming a full-time starter. Caster posted career numbers in 1972, catching 39 passes for 833 yards and ten touchdowns while making his first Pro Bowl. The Alabama native’s best game came against the Baltimore Colts in late September, catching six passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Namath threw for 496 yards and six scores, outdueling five-time All-Pro gunslinger Johnny Unitas.
After a relatively down year in 1973, Caster bounced back with back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons. He caught 85 passes for 1,565 yards and 11 touchdowns during that span. Caster left New York in 1978. In his first season with the Houston Oilers, the Jackson State product caught 20 passes for 216 yards and five touchdowns while making the postseason for the first time in his career. He caught eight passes for 67 yards in two playoff games. After three seasons with the Oilers, Caster had a short four-game stint with the New Orleans Saints in 1981 before finishing the season with the Washington Redskins. Washington and Caster won the Super Bowl in 1982, his final NFL season.