Jim Turner, left, of the New York jets is presented with trophy as the New York Catholic Youth Organization’s most popular player, by Thomas Lambertson, 11, at New York’s Shea Stadium, Dec. 1, 1968. At right is Don Maynard, last year’s most popular Jet. Maynard receives his trophy from Kevin Rehill. At rear is Msgr. Philip J. Murphy, New York CYO director. Last year award was not presented due to the death of Cardinal Francis Spellman. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)
LOGAN, Utah – Former Utah State player Jim Turner died on Saturday, June 10. He was 82.
Turner, a quarterback and kicker, was a three-year letterwinner for the Aggies from 1960-62. He helped Utah State capture back-to-back Skyline Conference championships in 1960 and 1961 as those teams combined to go 18-3-1 overall, including 9-1-1 in conference play.
Utah State capped those two seasons by playing in the Sun Bowl and Gotham Bowl, respectively. In the 1961 Gotham Bowl against Baylor, Turner kicked a 36-yard field goal, rushed for 17 yards on five carries and completed one pass for 10 yards.
During his career with the Aggies, Turner’s teams combined for a 26-5-1 record, which are the most wins in a three-year period in school history. He was inducted into the Utah State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
A two-year starter at quarterback, Turner ranked 12th in the nation in scoring with 70 points during his senior season as he had six rushing touchdowns, three field goals and 25 extra points. He also ranked 17th in the nation in scoring during his junior season with 58 points as he accounted for three rushing touchdowns, two field goals and 34 extra points.
During his career, Turner had a career-long pass of 73 yards against Western Michigan and a career-long punt of 63 yards against BYU both during his junior season. He also recorded a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Idaho during his senior season, which still ranks as the longest fumble return for touchdown in school history.
Following his collegiate career, Turner was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 1963 NFL Draft, before spending seven seasons with the New York Jets (1964-70), helping them to a 16-7 win against Baltimore in Super Bowl III. Turner then spent nine seasons with the Denver Broncos (1971-79) and was the first kicker inducted into their Ring of Fame in 1988.
For his NFL career, Turner played in two Super Bowls (III, XII) and two Pro Bowls, and was the Broncos’ all-time leading scorer at the time of his retirement in 1979.
While with the Broncos, Turner did not miss a game during his 130 contests in nine seasons as he 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 both career scoring and made field goals at the time of his retirement. With the Broncos, Turner scored in 69-consecutive games from 1974-78, 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.
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.
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’ 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, including a career-high 34 field goals during the 1968 season.
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 United States.
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 its 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.
Turner was born on March 28, 1941, and raised in Crockett, California.
For more information on the Utah State football program, follow the Aggies on Twitter at @USUFootball, on Facebook at USUFootball and on Instagram at USUFootball.