Antelope Valley Press

Caster, 3-time Pro Bowl tight end, wide receiver for Jets, has died

- By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. AP Pro Football Writer

Former New York Jets tight end and wide receiver Richard Caster, who was selected for three Pro Bowls during his 13-year NFL career, has died. He was 75.

Family representa­tive Kenny Zore confirmed Caster died in his sleep on Friday morning on Long Island, NY, after a long illness.

Caster, a second-round pick of the Jets in 1970 out of Jackson State, caught 322 passes for 5,515 yards and 45 touchdowns during his NFL career.

Caster spent his first eight seasons with New York and became a favorite target of Joe Namath. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound Caster entered the league as a wide receiver who ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, but was later switched to tight end by coach Weeb Ewbank because of his combinatio­n of size and speed.

“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 Jets’ 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.

“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 made all three of his Pro Bowls with the Jets, with selections during the 1972, ’74 and ’75 seasons. His 4,434 yards receiving with New York rank 10th on the franchise’s career list.

In Week 2 of the 1972 season, Caster caught three of Namath’s six touchdown passes and finished with six receptions for 204 yards in New York’s 44-34 victory over Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. Caster set career highs with 833 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns during that season. He had a personal-best 47 receptions in 1975.

Caster later played three years in Houston before splitting the 1981 season with New Orleans and Washington. He played in one game for the Washington team that won the Super Bowl to cap 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 told the Jets’ website. “When I came in, I think it was somewhere around two, 2 ½ 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. Max is a profession­al wrestler signed to All Elite Wrestling.

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