Charles Jackson waited for this moment for more than 30 years.
He's not a revered name in NFL history, but in 1987, in that three-week stretch in which NFL players went on strike, there he was on the field for the Washington Redskins with other replacement players. The Redskins went 3-0 in that stretch and went on to win Super Bowl 22 that year once the main roster returned.
Jackson, a North Miami High alumnus, and the other players who helped fill a ragtag team early in the 1987 season went unrecognized.
Until this week.
The Washington Redskins on Tuesday honored 25 of those replacement players at a ceremony at Redskins Park.
It took 31 years, but Charles Jackson — with his No. 37 jersey from that season on full display — finally received his Super Bowl ring.
“Thirty, 31 years ago, I wore that jersey,” Jackson, 56, told the Washington Post after the ceremony. “And I’m thinking, what better place to display that jersey again than to receive my Super Bowl ring? So I brought that jersey out because it just made me feel all of that passion back then. It was a great day.”
When looking back at the 1987 season, most remember the strike and the finished product — the Redskins' 42-10 win over the Denver Broncos. It was Washington's second Super Bowl win in franchise history.
But the momentum the Redskins gained during those three weeks with a replacement roster factored into the team's ultimate success.
The Redskins started the season 1-1 before the strike forced Week 3 games to be canceled. Washington, like the rest of the league quickly assembling a makeshift roster while most main players sat out Weeks 4-6.
The Redskins went 3-0 in that span, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 28-21 at home and then securing road wins over the New York Giants (38-12) and Dallas Cowboys (13-7) in the following weeks before the strike was lifted. Washington went 7-3 down the stretch of the regular season to go 11-4 overall and clinch the NFC East.
As the ceremony ended Tuesday, players from the main 1987 roster — including Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams and "Secretary of Defense" Dexter Manley — took a group photo with the more than two dozen replacement players in attendance being honored.
Reality sank in for Jackson.
"To be in the same room with them again lets me know that I’m a real Redskin," Jackson said, "and I’m a Redskin for life, too.”