In 1984, Gary Zimmerman was drafted by the New York Giants but opted out of his first opportunity to play in the NFL, deciding instead to play for two years in the United States Football League.
After finding success in the USFL, despite the league itself failing, Zimmerman made his way onto the Minnesota Vikings’ roster from 1986-1992. He then played, most notably, for the Denver Broncos from 1993-1997.
When he first joined the Broncos in ‘93, most of his offensive teammates were rookies, almost forcing Zimmerman into a leadership position on the team.
During his time in the NFL, Zimmerman was voted into the Pro Bowl seven times and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 1998, the franchise’s first.
Out of his monstrous 184 NFL game appearances, he started in 169 consecutive games.
In his final year in the league, Zimmerman was voted first-team All-Pro honors in 1996.
Despite suffering from injuries in both shoulders which led to a shortened NFL career, Zimmerman would go on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
His 12 years of professional football and ability to push through injuries and pain, places Zimmerman on the podium of former Oregon football players in the NFL.