Rich Caster, a three-time Pro Bowler with the New York Jets, has died, a family representative said Sunday. He was 75.
Caster died in his sleep on Friday after a long battle with an illness, family rep Kenny Zore said. Caster lived on Long Island, New York. According to The Clarion-Ledger, Caster battled Parkinson’s Disease.
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The tight-end wide receiver was a second-round pick of the Jets in the 1970 draft. He spent eight seasons with the Jets before he played for the Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints and later the Washington Redskins. He finished his career after the 1982 season.
In Caster’s first Pro Bowl season, he had 39 catches for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns. Joe Namath had 19 touchdown passes that season and Bob Davis had two. The Jets finished 7-7.
“The general approach from most teams defensively was to try to cover the tight end with a linebacker,” Caster recalled in an interview with the team’s website in 2018. “And I could outrun most linebackers or any linebacker that I ever ran into, really. But it was pretty much not a secret. ‘OK, let’s see how this matches up, if it holds up.’ It didn’t hold up.
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“I ran away from most of the people that I had a chance to get away from. It was all around getting a good matchup.”
Caster is credited with having a Super Bowl ring, though he only played in one regular-season game. Washington beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII in the 1982 season.
“I’m most proud of being able to play as long as I did, getting 13 years in the league during a period where the career average was a heck of a lot less than 13,” Caster said. “When I came in, I think it was somewhere around two, 2 1/2 years. I was real proud of my ability to still have some talent where I was able to be traded and signed late in my career to bring some value to some teams.”
Caster is survived by his wife Susan, sons Richard J. Caster, Max Caster and Sean Caster, daughters Shannon Myla and Alona Nicole, and five grandchildren.
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Max Caster is a professional wrestler in All Elite Wrestling.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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