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Retro Ravens: Michael Jackson

Baltimore's Thriller

Another draft is over and as usual it’s difficult to tell just how much better the Ravens roster will be in 2012.
One player that has drawn a particular amount of curiosity from the draft class is the former Miami Hurricane drafted in the sixth round Tommy Streeter. Streeter possesses an intriguing  blend of speed and size that reminds many of a former Ravens receiver.
Director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said this about Streeter. “It’s unusual to get a receiver with that kind of size who can run like that. Ozzie alluded to another size/speed guy that we developed a long time ago — Michael Jackson. These kinds of guys are rare at times, the measurable.
Which made me wonder, just what kind of career did Jackson have in the NFL?
So it only made sense to put Jackson under the microscope as my Retro Ravens subject this week.
Jackson, the 6’4″, 196 pound prospect from the University of Southern Mississippi was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL Draft. (Sounds familiar) Jackson had been recruited to Southern Miss as a potential Quarterback but later converted to Receiver when some guy named Bret Favre beat him out at the position. He went on to play eight seasons in the NFL, three in Baltimore from 1996-1998.
His first season in Charm City was his most memorable and productive as he caught 76 passes for 1201 yards and tied for the league lead in touchdowns with 14. Jackson caught multiple touchdowns three times that season and finished the 96′ campaign with a 5 catch, 117 yd., 3 TD performance against the Houston Oilers in a losing effort.
During his time as a pro he was known as a deep threat, a sharp dresser, and was never at a loss for words.
He was known for engaging in banter with opposing players and fans as evidenced by this story from a 1996 game against Jacksonville.
“I told the guy, ‘I’m going to catch a touchdown pass right here, in this [left] corner, and then I’ll throw the ball to you,’ ” Jackson said.Sure enough, before halftime, he caught a touchdown pass from Vinny Testaverde on the spot. Jackson pitched the ball toward the stands – with gusto.

“I must have thrown it pretty hard, because the [NFL] fined me $500,” he said.

 Jackson played the next two seasons for the Ravens but never enjoyed the same amount of success as that inaugural season. He only caught 4 touchdowns for the reminder of his career. He was slowed by injuries and a scheme change as Baltimore was moving more towards a short passing game.
He became a Free Agent in 1998 and after an unsuccessful tryout with the Seattle Seahawks he retired at the age of 29.
Even though Jackson had a relatively short career in Baltimore he’ll be most remembered for that tremendous first season. Do they have the same thing in Streeter?
Let’s wait and see.

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