On Saturday the University of Oklahoma announced the passing of former Cincinnati Bengals safety Rickey Dixon, who was drafted by the Bengals with the fifth overall pick of the 1988 NFL Draft—part of a top ten that also included Neil Smith, Tim Brown, and Sterling Sharpe.
Thorpe Award winner
Hall of Famer
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) August 2, 2020
“Ever since he left OU, Rickey has been regarded as one of the finest football players in school history,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a release. “His enshrinement last year into the College Football Hall of Fame is certainly validation of that. As much as any of his accomplishments on the field, however, he should be remembered for his extreme courage and spirit of perseverance.”
Dixon holds the Oklahoma record for interceptions in a season with nine, and totaled 17 interceptions during the course of his college career. He is still remembered as the star of the “Game of the Century II” in 1987, when No. 2 ranked OU defeated No. 1 ranked University of Nebraska 17-7.
His death comes seven years after beginning his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dixon is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and four children.
Rickey Dixon’s NFL Career
Dixon played for the Cincinnati Bengals for five seasons before closing out his NFL career with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1993. He made 32 starts and played in 82 games, plus a total of five playoff games—three with the Bengals and two with the Raiders.
He went to the Super Bowl with the Bengals during his rookie campaign, but his best season in Cincinnati came the following year, when he started all 16 games and accounted for three interceptions.
A year after his diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Dixon was awarded $4.5 million in a settlement following a lawsuit brought by former NFL players who claimed the NFL hid the dangers of concussions.
Dixon’s death follows on the heels of another loss in the Bengals family, that being Bengals legend Ken Riley, who passed away in June at the age of 72.
Bengals Sign a Quarterback, Kicker
In other Bengals news, the team signed two free-agents on Saturday, quarterback Brandon Allen and placekicker Tristan Vizcaino.
Allen is a fourth-year NFL player who came into the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, and has also spent time with the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos. To date Allen has appeared in three NFL games, all with the Broncos, completing 39 of 84 passes for 515 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He played his college football at the University of Arkansas, where he threw for 7,463 yards and 64 touchdown passes.
Vizcaino was a free-agent signee of the Bengals last offseason, and played in all of the team’s 2019 preseason games, converting all three of his PATs and four of seven field goal attempts. Vizcaino briefly spent time with the Dallas Cowboys this offseason before being waived in April.