Sadness encapsulates the entirety of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise today as one of their legendary players has passed away.
Ken Riley died earlier today, reported by his alma mater Florida A&M. Riley was 72 years old.
Born in Bartow, Florida in 1947, Riley stayed in his home state to attended the HBCU school of FAMU, where he was a quarterback for four years.
Drafted by the Bengals in their second-ever draft class in 1969, Riley was the team’s sixth-round pick and was taken 135th overall. His NFL career was just beginning, but his quarterback career was over. Paul Brown converted Riley to cornerback in his first training camp, and the rest is history.
15 years, 207 games and an incredible 65 interceptions later, Riley retired in 1983 with the fourth-most interceptions in NFL history at the time. Only Rod Woodson has surpassed him since then, and his 65 interceptions still rank fifth in league history.
Riley only made one First-Team All-Pro list in his career, but to this day is one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs in the modern NFL. If he ever does get inducted, we will not get to hear his induction speech.
But we don’t need to see Riley’s bronze bust be enshrined into Canton to know how great of a player he was. Five years ago, Riley was inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Rest In Power, Rattler.