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Broncos mourn passing of Ring of Fame kicker Jim Turner


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos Ring of Fame kicker Jim Turner passed away peacefully on Saturday with his family by his side, his family announced Monday. He was 82.

The first kicker inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame, Turner was the Broncos' all-time leading scorer at the time of his retirement in 1979.

Turner was an integral part of a Broncos team that made three playoff appearances from 1977-79 and advanced to Super Bowl XII to conclude the 1977 season.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Denver Broncos Ring of Fame kicker Jim Turner," the Broncos said in a statement. "Retiring as the second-leading scorer in NFL history, Jim was instrumental in helping establish the Broncos' winning tradition in the 1970s as a key member of our first Super Bowl team. While his competitive spirit and reliability defined him as a player, Jim's dedicated mentorship and support of youth following his career will leave a lasting legacy within our community.

"Our hearts go out to Jim's wife, Mary Kay; daughters Lisa, Chris and Alison; and the entire Turner family."

During Turner's career in Denver, he did not miss a game during his 130 contests in nine seasons and scored 742 points.

When he retired, Turner was just the fourth player in NFL history to ever reach the 500-point mark. He also ranked second in career scoring and made field goals at the time of his retirement. With the Broncos, Turner scored in 69 consecutive games from 1984-88, the third longest-streak in franchise history.

Turner was inducted into the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 1988, becoming the first kicker in team history to earn the honor. He still ranks third in franchise history in career field goals and fifth in career field-goal percentage. He also caught a touchdown pass against the Raiders in 1977, which he considered one of his favorite memories.

In addition to his Ring of Fame acknowledgment, Turner was also chosen as a member of the Broncos Top 100 team, which in 2019 honored the franchise's top players.

Before he ever arrived in Denver, Turner had earned a spot as one of the most prolific kickers in the history of the league.

Turner joined the Broncos via a trade during the 1971 offseason after playing seven seasons with the Jets. During his tenure in New York, Turner made a pair of Pro Bowls and was a key member of the Jets' famous Super Bowl III championship team. Turner scored 10 points during the upset win over the Colts.

Turner made 153 regular-season field goals for the Jets and made a career-high 34 field goals during the 1968 season.

Before his professional career, Turner was a three-time letterman as Utah State's quarterback. Turner was inducted into Utah State's Hall of Fame in 2013.

As he started his career with the Jets, he practiced at several positions, including quarterback, fullback, halfback, tight end and wide receiver. Jets head coach Weeb Ewbank, though, moved Turner to kicker, where his career flourished.

"I didn't belong in pro football," Turner said in 2002. "I had no moves. I just ran people over. Everything I accomplished was because of Weeb. I had attempted only two field goals in high school and three in college, but he let me try. He taught me."

Following his playing career, Turner worked with the National Football Foundation (NFF) on its "Play it Smart" campaign. The program used sports to help academic, personal and career development in at-risk students at nearly 150 schools across the U.S.

"We helped dozens of kids go to college who might not otherwise have had the opportunity, and I really loved working with those young kids," Turner said in 2017.

Turner was previously honored for his work with youth by the Colorado chapter of the NFF with an annual award in his name. Jefferson High School, where Turner worked with the program, dedicated their football field as Jim Turner field in 2004.

He also worked as a commentator for NBC Sports and as a radio talk show host for KNUS and KOA radio in Denver.

Following his retirement, Turner continued to live in the Denver area and remained an active member in Broncos alumni activities. According to his family, his hobbies included cycling, racquetball, woodworking, landscaping and fishing in Whitefish, Montana. He spent time with his wife, Mary Kay, at his grandkids' games and activities and loved his time with his family.

Turner was predeceased by his parents Ethel and Bayard and his siblings Paul, Eddie, Pat and jack. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Kay; his daughters Lisa, Chris and Alison; and his grandchildren Chase, Natalia, Walker, Ryder, Tigist, Noah, Christian and Genevieve.

Turner was born on March 28, 1941 and was raised in Crockett, California.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to Denver Broncos Alumni Charities.

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