Throwback Thursday: John Mackey's Hall-of-Fame hands

  • John Mackey, former Baltimore Colts tight end and Hall of Fame member shows off his Hall of Fame (from left) 1970 Super Bowl and Colts rings. A books about his life is being published. Unmentioned in the book is the fact that Mackey is suffering from an illness for which there is no cure.
John Mackey, former Baltimore Colts tight end and Hall of Fame…
July 07, 2011|By Matt Vensel

We have countless awesome sports photos in the archives here at The Baltimore Sun, and I have decided to share one with you each week in a regular feature called "Throwback Thursday." With former Baltimore Colts tight end John Mackey passing away Wednesday, I decided to dig through the archives for pictures.

Unfortunately, I don’t think electricity had been invented when Mackey played because I couldn’t find any action photos besides the one we are using on The Baltimore Sun online sports page. We might have some cave drawings down in the basement of Mackey playing, but they wouldn't do the Hall-of-Fame tight end justice.

"Previous to John, tight ends were big strong guys like [Mike] Ditka and [Ron] Kramer who would block and catch short passes over the middle," former Colts coach Don Shula told our Mike Klingaman. "Mackey gave us a tight end who weighed 230, ran a 4.6 and could catch the bomb. It was a weapon other teams didn't have. "

I did find this photo of Mackey’s soft hands, hard knuckles and football bling, and it’s pretty captivating. Mackey, photographed by Jerry Jackson in 2003, is showing off his championship ring from Baltimore’s Super Bowl win in 1970 and the ring he received when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

There is no caption contest this week -- funny captions wouldn’t be proper -- but you can leave your fond Mackey memories here and look through some of our other old photos of Mackey here.

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