Rocky Klever

Anchorage’s Rocky Klever seemed to make Alaska history every time he took the field in the NFL in the 1980s.

He was the state’s first draft pick, the first to play in the league, the first to gain a yard and the first to score a touchdown. He was also the first to appear in a playoff game.

Drafted in the ninth round in 1982 as a running back, Klever was switched to tight end and spent all five seasons with the New York Jets.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder started 25 of 65 career games and caught 46 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns. His longest reception was 30 yards.

Klever also returned six kickoffs for an average of 14.7 yards and a long of 29.

In 1983, he was a rookie on the Jets team that reached the AFC Championship Game, losing to Don Shula, Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins.

From 1984 to 1986, he played in 48 straight games.

He scored his first touchdown in 1984 on a 7-yard pass from Ken O’Brien in the first quarter of a 30-20 loss to the New England Patriots.

In 1985, he scored two TDs and had a career-best 183 receiving yards. In 1986, he started 11 of 16 games. Both seasons he made playoff appearances, playing a total of three games.

In college, Klever played at the University of Montana and left as the all-time leading rusher with 2,228 yards, a record that stood for nearly 30 years until another Alaska standout, Yohance Humphery, broke the mark in 2000.

He is among a handful of Alaskans to score touchdowns three different ways (passing, rushing and receiving) in a NCAA career.

At West High, he led the Eagles to a state title in 1975. He was named all-state at quarterback as a junior and senior.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Report editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.