Rickey Jackson earned Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement following 15 seasons as a linebacker with the Saints and 49ers.
Jackson, 65, is retired and living the good life, but he had something missing from his resume.
So, he returned to school to finish his degree 42 years after leaving the University of Pittsburgh.
Jackson graduated this month with a degree in social sciences, wearing a XXL cap and gown to walk across the stage.
It fulfilled a promise he made to his mother long ago.
“I’ve been real close,” Jackson said, via Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post. “I could have got it. I played football for 15 years, so I really didn’t think about getting it. Then, it came to a point where I had to have it, and my mother always wanted me to get my degree.”
Jackson hopes he serves as an inspiration to other former NFL players. He said Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor is among those, looking into completing his degree at the University of North Carolina.
“A lot of ex-football players, they want to go back and finish,” Jackson said. “I got a lot of buddies. They see what I did. They want to go back now and get their degrees. All of them were pretty close. Now, a lot of them are going back.”