Peyton Manning and 100 Other Football Stars Who Last Played for the Wrong Team
It doesn't seem right; he was supposed to play for the Colts his entire career and retire in the city where he became a star. Now he is going to be wearing orange and playing in Denver; what happened to my NFL?
It may seem like the end of the world, but Manning won't be the first person who played his final years with what many of us would call the wrong team.
His situation has got me thinking of how many players, Pro Bowlers or Hall Famers played in different uniforms at the end of their careers.
I decided to make a list of 100 players who ended their careers with the wrong team and in the wrong colors.
I wasn't able to include everyone (example: Kurt Warner and Norm Van Brocklin are just two that come to mind that didn't make the list), but I made sure to research a lot and wrote about a wide range of NFL players.
I included some of the bigger names at the end of the lists and tried to increase the length of the write-up for the player as the list goes on. There is a lot of stats and a lot of information, reader beware.
Lets get started with a former Heisman winner that made a name for himself in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
Tony Dorsett: Denver Broncos
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Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett was the second overall selection of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1977 NFL draft.
Dorsett was a force for the Cowboys for 11 seasons, was a four-time Pro Bowler and was a Super Bowl champion with the team (Super Bowl XII defeating the Denver Broncos).
He is second in attempts (2755), rushing yards (12036) and rushing touchdowns (72) on the Cowboys' career leaders list behind only Emmitt Smith.
However, towards the end of Dorsett's career he grew unhappy in a backup role to Herschel Walker and was subsequently traded to Denver for a conditional fifth-round pick.
Dorsett would rush for 703 yards and five touchdowns on 181 carries while starting 13 games for the Broncos.
It was his lone season in Denver, and he would retire after he injured his knee in practice prior to the 1989 season.
Randall McDaniel: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Randall McDaniel made 12 straight Pro Bowls, made the 1990s All-Decade Team and was recognized as one of the most versatile offensive lineman all on the way to a Hall of Fame career.
He played from 1988-1999 with the Minnesota Vikings after being drafted with the 19th overall pick in the 1988 NFL draft.
After the 1999 season, the longtime Vikings' guard would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and make his last Pro Bowl in 2000.
He'd play another season with Tampa Bay before retiring.
While he stayed productive with the Buccaneers, it would have been nice for McDaniel to retire in Minnesota.
Richard Dent: Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles
Richard Dent was one of the cogs that fueled the Chicago Bears' dominant 1985 defense.
In 12 seasons with the Bears, Dent recorded 124.5 sacks. He had seasons where he had 17.5 and 17 sacks. He's tied for seventh all-time with John Randle for career sacks.
Towards the end of his career, Dent battled injuries but found his way on the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 to win a second Super Bowl.
The eighth round pick in the 1983 draft returned to Chicago in 1995 and only played in three games. He could have ended his career where it all began, but he kept on playing.
He played with the Indianapolis Colts in 1996 and the Philadelphia Eagles and was productive in his role as a pass-rushing specialist.
The Hall of Fame defensive end recorded 6.5 and 4.5 sacks, respectively, while wearing jerseys that seemed out of place before finally calling it a career.
Steve McNair: Baltimore Ravens
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Steve "Air" McNair ranks second behind Warren Moon in passing yards (27141) , completions (2305) and passing touchdowns (156) for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans record books.
The three-time Pro Bowler also has 76 wins as a starter with the team and Moon has 70. McNair also did something Moon couldn't do; he led the franchise to a Super Bowl appearance (a loss to the St. Louis Rams).
McNair would win the MVP award in 2003. He also made the Pro Bowl in 2005, his last year with the Titans.
The Titans would draft Vince Young in 2006 and gave permission to McNair and his agent to seek a trade. He was eventually dealt to the Baltimore Ravens to solve their long-standing quarterback woes.
His first year with the team he led them to a 13-3 record, but were bounced by the Indianapolis Colts in the division round where the team only mustered six points.
McNair would then battle injuries in 2007, only starting six games with the Ravens. Before the 2008 season, McNair would announce his retirement from the NFL.
Tragically, McNair's life was cut short in 2009.
Personally, I'll always remember McNair in his Titans blue.
John Lynch: Denver Broncos and New England Patriots
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John Lynch was a two-sport star in football and baseball when he was at Stanford.
Lynch tried his hand at baseball first and played in the lower levels of the Florida Marlins' organization.
Thankfully for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lynch would turn to football and was selected in the 1993 NFL Draft in the third round.
Lynch played safety for the Bucs and would often punish receivers with devastating hits.
He would make five Pro Bowls with the team and was a key catalyst in the dominating Bucs defense of the late 90s and early 2000s.
He was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII team that defeated the Oakland Raiders, 48-21.
He was a cap casualty of the team after the 2003 season and would sign with the Denver Broncos.
With the Broncos, Lynch would make four straight Pro Bowls, bringing his Pro Bowl total to nine.
He stayed a productive player but again was released following the 2007 season.
Lynch would sign with the New England Patriots for the 2008 season, a move that many thought would be a great fit for both player and team.
However, Lynch was released by the team before ever playing a down. Lynch then announced his retirement during the season.
He currently works as a color commentator for the NFL on Fox.
Willie Anderson: Baltimore Ravens
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Willie Anderson was a 10th overall selection for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1996.
Anderson would blossom into a solid tackle for the Bengals over the course of his 12-year career with the team.
Anderson would make four straight Pro Bowls and be named to four straight All-Pro teams from 2003-2006.
Anderson would only start five games in 2007 and was released following the season after refusing to take a pay cut.
Anderson would sign with division rival Baltimore for the 2008 season. He would start 11 games that season but, at the end of the year, decided to call it a career.
Richmond Webb: Cincinnati Bengals
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The Miami Dolphins selected the mammoth Richmond Webb in the 1990 NFL draft with the ninth overall pick.
He protected the legendary Dan Marino for the majority of his career.
In the process, Webb would make seven Pro Bowls from 1990-1996. He was also two-time first team All-Pro and was named to the 1990's All Decade Team.
After leaving the Dolphins in 2000, he would play two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He started 16 games his first season with the Bengals but only four the next season.
He would try out for the Dolphins in 2003, but went unsigned.
He would do the ceremonial one-day contract bit with the Dolphins in 2005, but the last uniform he wore was orange and black.
Zach Thomas: Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs
Zach Thomas was a Miami Dolphin for 12 seasons after being a fifth-round pick out of Texas Tech.
The stout linebacker was a force in the middle for the Dolphins. According to Yahoo! Sports statistics, Thomas amassed 1643 total tackles, 19.5 sacks and 17 interceptions in his Dolphins' career.
The Dolphins' leader on defense was a seven-time Pro Bowler.
He was released by the Dolphins in 2008. Thomas then signed with the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas had 94 total tackles and a sack with the Cowboys with many speculating he had lost a step.
He then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was released before the regular season.
Thomas retired in 2010 after these two lackluster tenures, but when he was with the Dolphins there weren't many better.
Eric Moulds: Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans
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Eric Moulds was a very underrated receiver for the Buffalo Bills for 10 seasons.
Moulds was the 24th overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft.
As a rookie and second-year player, he would be a return man first and a wide receiver second.
In his third season he would start as a receiver and make the Pro Bowl. He had 67 receptions for 1368 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 20.4 yards a catch.
He made the Pro Bowl twice more with the team and is second in the Bills' records book in receptions (675), receiving yards (9096) and receiving touchdowns (48).
Moulds' big-play ability had been in decline and he was traded to the Houston Texans before the 2006 season for a fifth-round pick; that pick would turn into the Bills' Kyle Williams.
Moulds would have 557 yards receiving with the team and only nab one touchdown catch before being released at the end of the season.
Moulds would last take the field with the Tennessee Titans in 2007, and his numbers would continue to decline. He only had 342 yards receiving and wouldn't have a touchdown for the first time since his second season.
Willie McGinest: Cleveland Browns
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Willie McGinest was a very important member for the New England Patriots during their run of three Super Bowl wins in four years.
McGinest was only a two-time Pro Bowler with the Patriots but had 78 sacks in the 12 years he spent in New England, behind only Andre Tippett's 100 for the Pats' franchise lead.
The Patriots released the veteran in 2006 and he was signed by the Cleveland Browns, joining former defensive coach Romeo Crennel.
McGinest wasn't the player he was in New England and tallied only eight sacks in three seasons with the Browns.
McGinest retired at the end of his three-year contract with the team; though it was rumored he wanted to return to the Patriots for one last season.
Warren Sapp: Oakland Raiders
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Warren Sapp is one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time.
The future Hall of Famer was a disruptive force, often blowing up plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his nine years with the team.
Sapp made seven straight Pro Bowl appearances from 1997-2003 and was an integral part of the Bucs defense, which often ranked at the top of the league.
Sapp won a Super Bowl with the Bucs but, after nine seasons and 77 sacks, Sapp left the Bucs and signed a seven-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.
Sapp picked the Raiders over the Cincinnati Bengals. He would have a 10-sack season in his second year with the team.
However, after three seasons with the Raiders, Sapp decided to call it a career. He finished 34th on the all-time sack list.
Greg Lloyd: Carolina Panthers
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Greg Lloyd was a mean, nasty defender, even by Pittsburgh Steelers standards.
The vicious linebacker was drafted in sixth round out of Fort Valley State in 1987 and became one of the most feared linebackers in the NFL.
Lloyd battled injuries at the beginning of his career, but he kept the tradition of great Steelers' linebackers going through the 90s.
His Steelers career would last until 1997. Lloyd would have 53.5 sacks with the Steelers and made five straight Pro Bowls from 1991-1995.
He wasn't the same linebacker his last two seasons in Pittsburgh and moved on to the Carolina Panthers in 1998.
He didn't do much with Carolina and, just like that, his career was over.
His name lives on in his son, current Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Greg Lloyd Jr.
Ken O'Brien: Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles
Ken O'Brien was one of the QBs selected in the famous quarterback class of the 1983 NFL draft. He was picked by the New York Jets at the 24th overall pick.
In 1985, O'Brien would have his best season with the Jets. He led the team to an 11-5 record, completed over 60 percent of his passes, threw for 25 touchdowns compared to six interceptions and had his highest career passer rating at 96.2.
O'Brien wouldn't duplicate those numbers again, but did help the Jets to the playoffs three times and had a decent overall career with the team.
He was traded to the Green Bay Packers in 1993 for a fifth-round pick, but was cut before the start of the season.
He would be picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles and get four starts with the team, losing in every contest.
O'Brien's career was over, but at least his career ended still wearing a shade of green.
Carnell Lake: Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens
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Carnell Lake was another member of the solid Pittsburgh Steelers defenses of the 90s.
Lake was drafted in the second round of the 1989 NFL draft.
The UCLA product was a starter for the team from 1989 until 1998 with the Steelers. He would make four straight Pro Bowls with the team from 1994-1997.
He was also the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and even received an MVP vote.
Lake would sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 1999 season and go on to make another Pro Bowl.
The former Steeler was released by the Jaguars following the 2000 season, but signed with the Baltimore Ravens for the 2001 season.
Lake retired following that season; last wearing the colors of the enemy.
Thankfully, Lake did return to Pittsburgh and became Steelers' defensive backs coach in 2011.
Isaac Bruce: San Francisco 49ers
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Isaac Bruce is the all-time leader for St. Louis Rams in receptions (942), receiving yards (14109) and receiving touchdowns (84).
Bruce was an integral part of the Rams' Greatest Show on Turf offense, but he was hauling in passes and putting up numbers long before Kurt Warner came to town.
Bruce was a four-time Pro Bowler and his No. 80 was also retired by the organization.
Bruce's 14-year career with the Rams came to an end when he refused to take a pay cut.
Bruce would sign with the San Francisco 49ers. His first season, he caught 61 passes for 835 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The next year, he didn't fare so well and only caught 21 passes for 264 yards and no touchdowns.
Bruce was traded to the Rams after the season so he could retire with the team that drafted him, but it's unfortunate he took his last snaps with division rival San Francisco.
Stephen Davis: St. Louis Rams
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Stephen Davis was a Washington Redskin for seven years, but he really blossomed during his last four seasons with the team.
He made the Pro Bowl in 1999 and 2000 with them before signing with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent in 2003.
The first season in Carolina, Davis again made the Pro Bowl and helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance (they lost to the New England Patriots). Unfortunately, Davis battled knee injuries the two following seasons and was released in 2006.
Davis ran for 5790 yards on 1383 carries and 45 rushing touchdowns with the Redskins and added 2085 yards on 522 carries and 20 rushing touchdowns with the Panthers.
Davis as then signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2006. He appeared in 15 games with the team but only carried the ball 40 times for 177 yards, good for a 4.4 yards per carry average.
Davis wouldn't play again and retired in 2008 after signing a one-day contract with the Panthers.
Earl Campbell: New Orleans Saints
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Earl Campbell was a Houston Oiler for seven years after being drafted first overall in the 1978 NFL draft.
The bruising back would rush 1979 times for 8574 yards and 73 touchdowns with the Oilers. He would also win a plethora of awards with the team.
The Tyler Rose would be traded to the New Orleans Saints during the 1984 season, reuniting him with former coach Bum Phillips.
Some say, by the time of the trade, the Hall of Famer's style of play had caught up to him. He only rushed for 833 yards and one touchdown in 24 games with the Saints.
He retired before the 1986 season from the toll his body had taken through the years.
The five-time Pro Bowler ranks second in career rushing yards and attempts but first in touchdowns in the Houston Oiler/Tennessee Titan record books.
He clearly doesn't rank that high in the record books for the Saints.
John Randle: Seattle Seahawks
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John Randle was a 2010 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Twenty years before that moment, Randle went undrafted in the 1990 NFL draft and was trying to make a NFL roster.
Lucky for Minnesota, they took a chance on Randle.
During an 11-year career, Randle would sack the quarterback 114 times. With his trademark face paint and loud attitude, Randle became one of the most recognizable defensive players in the NFL.
He made the Pro Bowl six times with the Vikings.
Randle would leave Minnesota and sign with the Seattle Seahawks.
He played for the Seahawks from 2001 until 2003. He had one more Pro Bowl appearance and added 32.5 sacks, but his sack total decreased each season.
Following the 2003 season, Randle decided to call it a day. On the NFL career sack leaders list, he still ranks tied for seventh with Richard Dent.
Tony Boselli: Houston Texans
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Tony Boselli was the first-ever draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars' franchise.
Boselli was a Pro Bowl left tackle for the majority of his run in Jacksonville. He made the Pro Bowl five times, only missing it his first and last year with the team.
Boselli was the first pick of the Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft, but Boselli wouldn't play a down with the Texans due to injuries.
Essentially, Boselli's career was done at the ripe old age of 29.
He was the first player selected to the Jaguars' Hall of Fame and will always be remembered as a Jaguar, but the last team he was with was the Houston Texans.
Clay Matthews: Atlanta Falcons
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Clay Matthews was the 12th overall pick for the Cleveland Browns during the 1978 NFL draft.
He was a force on the Browns defense for 16 years and still ranks first on their all-time sack list with 62.5.
Matthews was also a four-time Pro Bowler with the team.
However, he left the Browns and signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 1994.
He would add 7.5 sacks to his career total in three seasons before calling it a career after the 1996 season.
Matthews played 19 seasons in the NFL; which is quite an accomplishment.
Clay's son is a beast of a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and shares his name.
John Mackey: San Diego Chargers
John Mackey is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is considered by many as the best tight end to play the game and has the award for the best Division I college football tight end named after him.
Mackey came into the league with the Baltimore Colts in 1963. He was a reliable target for Johnny Unitas and fast for a tight end, providing a surprisingly deep threat for the team. He even acted as kick returner for the team at one time.
He was a five-time Pro Bowler for the Colts was with the team for their Super Bowl V win over the Dallas Cowboys.
After nine years with the team, he would move on and play with the San Diego Chargers in 1972. He only tallied 11 receptions for 110 yards and no touchdowns. After the season, he retired due to injuries.
Sadly, John Mackey's later years were full of health problems, and the Hall of Famer died in July 2011.
Alan Page: Chicago Bears
Alan Page was born in Canton, Ohio; fitting that he would end up enshrined there after his playing days.
He was drafted 15th overall in 1967 for the Minnesota Vikings. He became a member of the famed Purple People Eaters defensive line and may have been the best member of all.
Page made nine straight Pro Bowls for the Vikings and won the 1971 NFL MVP award.
But, during the 1978 season, Page was cut by the Vikings and claimed by the rival Chicago Bears.
He played three and half seasons with the Bears and was fairly productive, but didn't make any Pro Bowls. He retired after the 1981 season after 16 years in the NFL.
Page is back in Minnesota and is currently an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Rod Woodson: Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders
Rod Woodson was a leader on the Pittsburgh Steelers' defenses of the 1990s.
Woodson was a seven-time Pro Bowler with the team and was explosive when he got the ball in his hands. In his career, he returned 12 interceptions for touchdowns.
He played with the Steelers from 1987 until 1996.
Woodson found himself not in the Steelers plans after 1996 and he signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers in 1997.
After that stint, Woodson would sign a contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Woodson would make three Pro Bowls with the Ravens and made the transition to safety with the team. He would win a Super Bowl with the team.
Woodson would be released by the Ravens in 2002 and would sign a deal with the Oakland Raiders.
He made one last Pro Bowl with the Raiders to bring his total to 11. He played two years in Oakland before being released in 2004 and retired soon after.
He is also tied for fourth on the Baltimore Ravens career interception leaders (20) and fourth on the Steelers' list (38) as well. He is also first for Pittsburgh (5) and tied for second for Baltimore (5) in career interceptions returned for touchdowns.
Woodson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009; it's too bad he had to play for three other teams besides Pittsburgh to get there.
Randall Cunningham: Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens
Randall Cunningham was one of the most amazing dual-threat quarterbacks ever to play the game.
With the Philadelphia Eagles, Cunningham was a three-time Pro Bowler. He led the team to the playoffs five times over his career with the Eagles.
Cunningham is third on the team's all-time leaders in passing yards (22877) and passing touchdowns (150).
In addition, he is fifth in career rushing yards (4482) and fourth in rushing touchdowns (32).
Cunningham retired in 1996 after the only team he wanted to play for, the St. Louis Rams, didn't sign him (via apnewsarchive.com).
Cunningham would return to the NFL after the 1996 season with the Minnesota Vikings. In 1998, he started the majority of the season as Brad Johnson battled injuries.
He helped lead the team to a 15-1 record, to an NFC championship game overtime loss and he had career highs in touchdown passes (34) and passer rating (106.0).
After that season, Cunningham would struggle in 1999 and eventually be replaced. He was released before the 2000 season when Dante Culpepper was handed the starting job.
Cunningham was relegated to backup duty his final two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
He started five more games; going 3-2. He threw nine touchdowns to six interceptions and a little over 1400 yards.
He signed a ceremonial contract with the Eagles in 2002 to retire, it's too bad the last snaps he took couldn't have been with the team, too.
Jim Everett: San Diego Chargers
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Jim Everett was the third overall pick in the 1986 draft of the Houston Oilers. He couldn't work out a contract with the Oilers and his rights were traded to the Los Angeles Rams.
He led the Rams to back to back playoff appearances in 1988 and 1989 and threw for 60 combined touchdowns in those two seasons.
In 1989, he led the Rams to the NFC Championship Game. The Rams were beaten 30-3 by the 49ers and in the game Everett took a "phantom sack" that was hard to live down (sack at 4:03).
Everett would make his only Pro Bowl appearance in 1990; though the team performed better and statistically he had better seasons in the two previous years.
Some speculated he never really regained form after the drubbing he took from the 49ers in that 1989 championship game. Still, Everett is the Rams' all-time leader in passing yards and second in passing touchdowns.
Everett was traded to division rival New Orleans in 1994. He would play for the team for three seasons where he compiled a record of 17-30, threw for 10622 yards and had 60 touchdown passes compared to 48 interceptions.
He was released in 1997 and signed with the Chargers in a backup role. He only played one season and threw one touchdown to four interceptions, but did win his only start.
Sadly, Everett might best be remembered for his on-air confrontation with Jim Rome.
Jackie Smith: Dallas Cowboys
Jackie Smith is a Cardinals great who played 15 seasons for the team that was then located in St. Louis.
The longtime Cardinal had a stretch of five straight Pro Bowls from 1966 to 1970.
He ranks third in receiving yards in the team's record books and also ranks sixth in both receiving touchdowns and receptions. He is the first tight end in all three categories.
During the last few years of his Cardinal career, Smith was no longer a receiving threat for the team.
Smith's next played for the Dallas Cowboys, who lured him out of retirement, in 1978.
Smith would go to the Super Bowl with Dallas despite not having a catch during the regular season.
In the Super Bowl, Smith would drop a crucial pass in the end zone (via NFL.com) and the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal. The team would lose Super Bowl XIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers by four points.
It was a sad end to the Hall of Famer's career, who is remembered for that drop as much as he is for his years with the Cardinals.
Leslie O'Neal: St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs
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Leslie O'Neal was a San Diego Charger for nine seasons.
He started off as their eighth overall pick for the team during the 1986 NFL draft and blossomed into the team's all-time leader in sacks with 105.5, which is 40 more than second place.
O'Neal posted double-digit sack totals in seven seasons and was a Pro Bowler six times with San Diego.
He was a member of the 1994 team that went to the Super Bowl, the only San Diego team to do so. He left the team following the 1995 season.
He next played for the St. Louis Rams where he stayed for two seasons. He recorded 17 sacks in his time with the team, but there were signs he was slowing down.
O'Neal's last stop was with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he only had 10 sacks in his last two seasons.
Ending your career with a division rival seems like a theme in the NFL; I wonder how many players would change that if they could?
Torry Holt: Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots
Torry Holt is second all-time in the St. Louis Rams' record books for receptions (869), receiving yards (12660) and receiving touchdowns (74). He is behind only Isaac Bruce in these categories.
Holt was the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft. The N.C. State product had a productive first year recording 52 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdowns.
In Holt's rookie season, the Rams would win Super Bowl XXXIV after a 10-year playoff drought. The Rams were 4-12 the previous season.
Holt really broke out in his second year, making the first of seven Pro Bowls with the team.
After a four-year playoff hiatus for the team, Holt had his request for his release from the Rams granted before the 2009 season.
He was signed to a three-year deal by the Jacksonville Jaguars but didn't produce the season he had hoped for.
He had 51 receptions for 722 yards but he didn't record a single touchdown catch for the first time in his career and was released after the season.
Holt signed with the New England Patriots for the 2010 season. He would suffer a knee injury before the season and was eventually released, never playing a game with the team.
He wrapped up his career in disappointing fashion, but no one can doubt the impact "Big Game" had on the Rams.
Lance Alworth: Dallas Cowboys
Lance Alworth was 6-foot receiver drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL and the Oakland Raiders in the AFL.
His rights were traded from the Raiders to the San Diego Chargers. Alworth would choose the Chargers over the 49ers, and it would turn out to be a great decision.
Alworth is still the Chargers all-time leader in receiving yards (9584) and touchdowns (81) and still ranks fifth in receptions (493). His 19.4 career yards per reception average shows the big-play threat Alworth was.
Alworth was a seven time All-AFL selection in seven straight seasons from 1963-1969 with the Chargers.
Alworth was traded to the Dallas Cowboys before the 1971 season. Alworth had 49 receptions for 682 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons with the Cowboys.
The two seasons were his lowest statistically since his rookie season.
Alworth did win a Super Bowl his first season with the Cowboys and caught a touchdown in the game.
Still, he wasn't the same receiver he was during his heyday with the Chargers and retired after the 1972 season.
Shaun Alexander: Washington Redskins
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Shaun Alexander was the fourth running back taken in the 2000 NFL draft, behind Jamal Lewis, Thomas Jones and Ron Dayne.
Alexander would mostly watch Seattle Seahawks' starter Ricky Watters from a spot on the bench in his rookie season.
He would get his chance to start in his second season and would lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 14.
Alexander would make his first of three Pro Bowls in 2003. For those three seasons, he would average 4.4, 4.8 and 5.1 yards per carry, respectively.
He won the NFL MVP in 2005 after rushing for over 1800 yards and 27 touchdowns. He would help lead the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL, a 21-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Alexander struggled in his next two seasons with the team and wouldn't even reach 4.0 yards a carry. He was released after the 2007 season.
He is first in rushing yards (9429), attempts (2176) and rushing touchdowns (100) in the Seattle Seahawks' record books. He is 45 rushing touchdowns ahead of Curt Warner, who is in second.
He was signed by the Redskins during the 2008 season but didn't have an impact and was released a short time later.
He only had 24 yards on 11 carries with zero touchdowns with the team. He never played in the NFL again.
Carl Eller: Seattle Seahawks
Carl Eller is the second member of the Purple People Eaters to make this list.
Eller was the sixth overall selection of the 1964 NFL draft and a disruptive force from the defensive end position.
Eller played in four Super Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings, but the team lost every single contest.
Sacks weren't kept during Eller's career, but according to the Vikings' website he is their all-time leader with 130 sacks.
He was a six-time Pro Bowler with the team and played 15 seasons.
After his 15th season, he was traded along with an eighth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for defensive lineman Steve Niehaus.
Eller would play the 1979 season with the Seattle Seahawks, where he wasn't the sack artist he was with the Vikings, and he retired after the season.
Deacon Jones: San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins
Deacon Jones is the man responsible for coining the term "sack," so I'm sure you already know what he is most remembered for.
Jones was a round 14 pick for the Los Angeles Rams in 1961. Unfortunately for Jones, sacks weren't officially kept until 1982.
He made seven straight Pro Bowls with the Rams from 1964 until 1970.
He is "unofficially credited with 173.5 sacks (via the New York Times)." The Rams traded the Hall of Famer to the San Diego Chargers following the 1971 season.
Jones would make his last Pro Bowl with the Chargers in 1972. He would play 1973 with the team as well before moving on to the Washington Redskins in 1974. He would retire after that season with the Redskins.
His No. 75 is retired with the Rams, the team he rightfully should have last played with.
Rickey Jackson: San Francisco 49ers
Rickey Jackson was a major part of the New Orleans Saints' punishing defense during the late '80s and early '90s.
Jackson was taken in the second round of the 1981 NFL draft out of Pittsburgh. He would be a part of the fearsome foursome of Saints' linebackers known as the Dome Patrol.
Jackson would be paired with Pat Swilling and the two would wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks from the outside linebacker positions.
Jackson would collect 115 sacks with the team and is still first all-time in the Saints' record books.
The Saints would never win a playoff game during Jackson's tenure with the team but it was hardly his fault. Jackson had 10+ sacks six times in his 13-year career.
Jackson's drought of playoff wins would end when he joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1994.
He played the end position for the Niners and only had 4.5 sacks in his first season with the team, but the team would win the Super Bowl that year when they trounced the San Diego Chargers.
He had a better statistical season his next year and compiled 9.5 sacks with the team. They didn't fare as well in the playoffs and were bounced in their first game by Green Bay.
Jackson decided to call it a career following the 1995 season.
Jackson was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2010. The Dome Patrol were voted the top linebacker group ever on the NFL Network's Top 10 show.
Mark Clayton: Green Bay Packers
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Mark Clayton was an eighth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 1983 NFL draft.
The Dolphins' first-round pick that year was Dan Marino. So it should come as no surprise that after 10 years with the team, Clayton is first all-time in receptions (550) and receiving touchdowns (81) for the Dolphins.
He is also second all-time in their record books in receiving yards (8643).
He teamed up with Mark Duper from 1983-1992 to create a formidable receiving duo for the Miami Dolphins.
In the 1984 season, Clayton had 18 touchdown receptions and made his first of five Pro Bowls with the Dolphins. He also helped the team to the Super Bowl that year; an eventual loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The team wouldn't make it to the big game again, but Clayton stayed productive through the years.
He would leave the Dolphins in 1993 and sign with the Green Bay Packers. He would put together one his worst statistically season with 32 receptions for 331 yards and three touchdowns with the Packers.
It would be his last season in the NFL. One more year with the Dolphins and he could have retired where he belonged.
Irving Fryar: Washington Redskins
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Irving Fryar was a long time New England Patriot and the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 NFL draft, but he didn't become a true impact receiver until the end of his nine-year career with the team.
Fryar was a Pro Bowler in 1985 as a return man with the Pats. He played in the Super Bowl that season and scored the only touchdown in the game for the team; a fourth-quarter TD reception.
He would total 363 receptions for 5726 yards and 38 touchdown receptions with New England.
He was traded to the Dolphins in 1993 and made an immediate impact as a receiver. He made two straight Pro Bowls and topped 1000 yards receiving in back-to-back seasons.
He had 199 receptions for 3190 yards and 20 receiving touchdowns with the Dolphins in three seasons.
After blossoming as an elite NFL wide receiver with the Dolphins he would move on to Philadelphia as a free agent in 1996. He had his first and only 10+ receiving touchdown season his first year with the Eagles (11).
He would duplicate his first two seasons' Dolphin success with the Eagles and again made two straight Pro Bowls and went over 1000 yards in those seasons.
His numbers dipped in his third and final season with the Eagles, topping a little over 500 receiving yards..
He went to the Washington Redskins for his two final seasons after initially retiring after the 1998 season. His first year with the team he had 26 receptions for 254 yards and caught only two touchdowns.
His numbers improved in 2000, and he had 41 receptions for 548 yards and 5 touchdowns, but he wasn't the elite receiver he was with the Dolphins and Eagles and called it a career after the 2000 season.
Forrest Gregg: Dallas Cowboys
Forrest Gregg was one of the finest lineman ever to play the game.
He was a stalwart of the great Green Bay Packers teams of the 1950s and 1960s.
He won two Super Bowls with the Packers, the first two, along with three pre-Super Bowl NFL Championships with the team.
He was a nine-time Pro Bowler with the Packers. The famed Vince Lombardi even called Gregg the finest player he ever coached (via Packers.com).
He was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys following the 1970 season.
He would only play one season with the Cowboys, but helped the team win Super Bowl VI against the Miami Dolphins.
This brought Gregg's championship total to six; he would retire after the season and move into a career in coaching.
Amani Toomer: Kansas City Chiefs
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Amani Toomer played for the New York Giants for 13 seasons after being a second-round pick in the 1996 NFL draft.
During his time with the team, he would go on to hold every major receiving record in the New York Giants' record books. His 9497 receiving yards are over 4000 yards more than the person listed second.
Toomer was a part of the Giants' team that shocked the world and defeated the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. In the game, he led the team with six receptions for 84 yards.
Toomer would play one more season for the Giants before having to test the free-agent waters.
With young receivers rising in the New York organization, Toomer wasn't re-signed and he would sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Toomer would play in the preseason with the Chiefs but was cut before the start of the regular season.
He wouldn't catch on with another team that year and conceded that his career was over midway through the 2009 season.
Ricky Williams: Baltimore Ravens
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Ricky Williams came into the NFL under lofty expectations.
The Saints traded all of their draft picks in 1999 and a first and third in 2000 to the Washington Redskins for the right to select Williams.
Williams wasn't the back that the Saints and then-coach Mike Ditka had expected when they made the trade on draft day in 1999.
He would get better each year in his three-season Saints career. He rushed for totals of 884, 1000 and 1245. He rushed for 16 total touchdowns in those three years.
He was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002 along with a fourth-round pick for two firsts, a second, a third and a fourth-round pick.
In his first season with the Dolphins, he doubled his career touchdown total. His 16 touchdowns in 2002 would remain his career high. He also rushed for 1853 yards, good for a 4.8 yards per carry average.
He made his only Pro Bowl that year, but did prove to be a bell cow over his first two seasons.
Williams would then start his stint in crazy town and retire after the 2003 season amid testing positive for marijuana. He returned in 2005, but again got in trouble with marijuana and was suspended for the entire 2006 season.
He then played with the Toronto Argonauts before returning to the NFL in 2007 for one game before being injured.
He would return in a backup role with Miami until the end of the 2010 season. He would sign with Baltimore for 2011. He only rushed for 444 yards and two touchdowns this year, but was solid in spelling Ray Rice.
Williams retired after his one season in Baltimore and doesn't look likely to return.
Jim Harbaugh: Carolina Panthers
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Before Jim Harbaugh was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, he was known as Captain Comeback.
According to profootballreference.com, Harbaugh had 15 comebacks and 19 game-winning drives.
Harbaugh was a first-round pick in 1987 for the Chicago Bears. The Michigan product didn't get a chance as a full-time starter until 1990.
He would have mixed results with the Bears, completing only 58.2 percent of his passes while throwing 50 touchdowns to 56 interceptions.
But he helped lead the team to double-digit win seasons in his first two years as starter. He would have a record of 35 wins and 30 losses in his seven years with the team.
The Bears released Harbaugh after the 1993 season and he would sign with the Indianapolis Colts.
With the Colts, he would make his only Pro Bowl in 1995 when he threw for a career-best 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also completed 63.7 percent of his passes. That season, he came within a Hail Mary of sending the Colts to the Super Bowl.
He led the Colts to the playoffs again in 1996. He would stay Colts starter until 1998 when he was traded to the Ravens. He was average for that year with the Ravens and was then traded to the Chargers.
After a two-year stay with the Chargers, where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, he would sign with the Lions but was released before the start of the 2001 season.
He signed on with the Carolina Panthers during that season, and he didn't see the field.
Though he bounced around a lot at the end of his career, seeing Harbaugh with the Panthers on the bench was especially disheartening.
Bernie Kosar: Miami Dolphins
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Bernie Kosar grew up in Boardman, Ohio, and the local kid worked the system to end up being picked by his home-state Cleveland Browns.
Kosar would lead the Browns to back-to-back AFC Championship games in the 1986 and 1987 seasons with the Browns. The Browns lost both games to the Denver Broncos.
He made his only Pro Bowl in 1987 when he threw for over 3000 yards, completed 62 percent of his passes and threw 22 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
He would lead the team back to the AFC Championship Game in 1989 and again the Browns would lose to the Denver Broncos.
Kosar was the face of the Browns for eight and a half seasons. In the Browns' record books he is third all-time in passing yards (21904), fourth in touchdown passes (116) and second in attempts (3150) and completions (1853).
In 1991, the Browns hired Bill Belichick as head coach. Belichick didn't like Kosar's playground style and the head coach and quarterback's relationship was never good.
Belichick would bring former No. 1 overall pick Vinny Testaverde to the Browns in 1993 and would release Kosar mid-season.
Kosar signed with the Cowboys to backup Troy Aikman in 1993 and won a Super Bowl.
He would then sign with the Dolphins and spent the final three seasons of his career backing up Dan Marino. He would even draw up the fake spike play that the Dolphins used to break New York Jets' hearts.
Kosar is still a legend for the Browns' fans today and is often heard on the team's preseason games.
Jamal Lewis: Cleveland Browns
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Jamal Lewis is the Baltimore Ravens' all-time leader in rushing yards (7801), rushing touchdowns (45) and rushing attempts (1822).
He was drafted fifth overall in the 2000 NFL draft, just in time to help the Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory against the New York Giants.
Lewis would run for over 1300 yards in his first two seasons with the team.
He then went off in his third year and rushed for over 2000 and 14 touchdowns. He also set a then NFL record with 295 rushing yards in a single game. He would make his only Pro Bowl that season.
He seemed to slow down after the 2004 season and would play two more seasons with the team, only averaging 3.5 yards a carry.
The Ravens released him after the 2006 season and Lewis would sign with division rival Cleveland.
In 2007, Lewis revived his career and rushed for 1304 yards and nine touchdowns with the Browns.
After that initial success, Lewis struggled the next two seasons with the Browns and again hovered around the 3.5 yards per carry average.
Lewis was placed on the injured reserve by the Browns in the 2009 season and said he would retire at the end of the season.
Keyshawn Johnson: Carolina Panthers
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Keyshawn Johnson was the first overall pick by the New York Jets in the 1996 NFL draft.
Johnson played well with the Jets, but had a tendency to be a headache with the team.
After his 63 catch, 844 yard, eight touchdown rookie season Johnson wrote a book called "Just Give Me the Damn Ball!" In it, he pulled no punches about the Jets and their 1-15 team in 1996.
Johnson would blossom into a Pro Bowler in his third and fourth seasons, in which he went over 80 catches and 1000 yards receiving in both seasons. He had a combined 18 touchdowns in those seasons.
Johnson would get traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2000 season for two first-round picks. He would make the Pro Bowl in 2001 when he had 106 catches for 1266 yards but only had one touchdown.
He would help the team win Super Bowl XXXVII.
Johnson would then be traded again to the Dallas Cowboys before the 2004 season for Joey Galloway.
In two years with the Cowboys, Johnson would have 141 catches for 1820 yards and 12 touchdowns but was still released before the 2006 season.
Johnson lastly caught on with the Panthers and had a solid season statistically with 70 catches for 815 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson would be released after the season.
Johnson got an offer to join the Tennessee Titans, but turned the team down to work for ESPN.
Jason Gildon: Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars
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When you think of all the great Pittsburgh Steelers defensive players to ever play the game you might be shocked to know that their all-time leader in sacks is Jason Gildon.
Gildon's 77 career sacks with the Steelers ranks higher than names like Joey Porter, James Harrison and Greg Lloyd.
He was a third-round pick in 1994 and played 10 years for the Steelers.
He wouldn't get a chance to start until his third season after Lloyd went down to an injury, and he was effective when he took over.
Gildon was a three-time Pro Bowler and had double-digit sacks three times as well. He'd play for the Steelers until 2003.
The Steelers released him before the 2004 season and Gildon would sign on with the Buffalo Bills, but he wouldn't make it out of training camp with the team and was again cut.
The Jaguars would sign Gildon after the start of the season. Gildon would post three sacks with the team, his lowest total since his second season.
He retired after the season, but his three Jacksonville sacks would give him an even 80 sacks on his career.
Bart Oates: San Francisco 49ers
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Bart Oates wasn't signed by the New York Giants until he was 27 years old.
Oates was a USFL player for a few seasons before he made it to the NFL.
When he did make it to the league, Oates became an important part of the offensive line for the Giants.
He was a three-time Pro Bowler at center with the team. He also was a part of two Giant Super Bowl teams (XXI, XXV).
Oates then moved on to the San Francisco 49ers in 1994. He would make back-to-back Pro Bowls and win a Super Bowl with the team in his first season.
Though he was a Pro Bowler in 1995, Oates still called it a career following that season.
On a side note, Oates voiced himself in an episode of the offbeat Cartoon Network/Adult Swim show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."
Vinny Testaverde: Carolina Panthers
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Vinny Testaverde may not fit great on this list as he played for seven different teams in his career.
Testaverde started his career as the first overall pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1987 NFL draft. In his second season, Testaverde would throw 35 interceptions compared to 13 touchdowns.
After six seasons in Tampa Bay, the team had no season with less than 10 losses, and he had 77 passing touchdowns compared to 111 interceptions.
He was traded to Cleveland and would play with the Browns for three years, taking over for the beloved Bernie Kosar.
He would help the team to a playoff win in 1995 before falling to division rival Pittsburgh and took care of the ball better than he did with the Bucs.
He stayed with the team until they moved to Baltimore and made his first Pro Bowl with the team in 1996 where he threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes.
He would be waived by the Ravens and catch on with the Jets in 1998 where he had his most success. He made the Pro Bowl in 1998 and led the team to an AFC Championship game. He would end up a backup to Chad Pennington but stayed with the team until 2003.
He would then sign with the Cowboys and start after starter Quincy Carter was cut. He didn't play very well and threw 20 interceptions. In the process, he led the Cowboys to a double-digit loss season.
Then he bounced around between jobs of need. He went back to the Jets and started due to injuries, backed up in New England and then was signed by the Carolina Panthers due to injuries.
Testaverde was 44 in his stint with Carolina. He played admirably considering he was old enough to be a few teammates' father. It was still awkward to watch Vinny, playing out his career with a Carolina team bit by the injury bug.
He is currently seventh all-time in passing yards with 46,233.
Drew Bledsoe: Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys
Drew Bledsoe was the first overall pick for the New England Patriots in the 1993 NFL draft.
Bledsoe would be paired with head coach Bill Parcells and the two would turn the fortunes of the New England Patriots around.
It didn't take Bledsoe long to make the Pro Bowl, as he would in his second season when he threw for over 4500 yards and threw for 25 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.
Bledsoe struggled in his third season, throwing for 3507 yards and only 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
He rebounded in 1996 and led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI, a loss to the Green Bay Packers. He would make the Pro Bowl in 1996 and 1997.
Bledsoe stayed the franchise quarterback until the 2001 season when he suffered a serious injury (sheared blood vessel in his chest) and gave way to Tom Brady. As we all know, Brady went on to lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory against the St. Louis Rams.
Bledsoe still sits second in passing yards (29657), completions (2544) and attempts (4518) and third in touchdown passes (166).
The Patriots would trade Bledsoe to their division rival, the Buffalo Bills. He would make the Pro Bowl his first season. He had a QB rating of 86, threw for 4359 yards, 24 touchdowns to 15 interceptions.
He would fall out of favor in Buffalo and was cut after three seasons.
He would sign on with former coach Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys for the 2005 season. He played good his first season with the team but would struggle in his second year and was replaced.
He would be released after the 2006 season and retire following a 14-year career.
Leonard Marshall: New York Jets and Washington Redskins
Leonard Marshall was a member of the New York Giants defense that propelled the team to two Super Bowls in the late '80s and early '90s.
Marshall was drafted in the second round of 1983 and proved formidable at getting to the quarterback.
In his rookie season, he only had .5 sacks but followed that with a 6.5-sack performance in his second season.
Marshall followed that up with two Pro Bowl seasons in back-to-back years and sack totals of 15.5 in 1985 and 12 in 1986.
Marshall would stay productive but ended up leaving the team for the other New York squad for the 1993 season.
Marshall's 79.5 sacks over his 10-year Giant career is good for third all-time in the team's record books, behind only Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan.
Marshall would play defensive tackle with the Jets and would record only two sacks. It would be his only season with the Jets and he moved on to the Washington Redskins.
He moved back to end, but again could only record two sacks.
After his one season with the Skins in 1994, Marshall wouldn't play again.
He did the ceremonial-contract bit with the Giants in 1996 and retired.
Tony Eason: New York Jets
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Tony Eason was a first-round pick for the New England Patriots in the 1983 NFL draft.
He had a strong second year with the Patriots and had over 3000 yards passing, 23 touchdowns to 8 interceptions.
Eason would help lead the team to Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears. Eason started the game and would go 0-6 in passing until he was benched. The Patriots were still slaughtered in the game by a score of 46-10.
Eason started in the 1986 season and helped the team to an 11-5 record, but the team made a quick exit out of the playoffs at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
He started tumbling down the depth chart the following season.
He hung on until 1989, but was cut midseason.
He was picked up that year by division rival New York and played for the Jets for a season and half but didn't do much of note.
In the Patriots' record books, he is still fifth all-time in completions (876) and passing yards (10732) and sixth in passing touchdowns (60).
Darnay Scott: Dallas Cowboys
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Darnay Scott was a big-play receiver drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round of the 1994 NFL draft.
Scott formed a good one-two punch with Carl Pickens from the time he was drafted.
For his first four seasons, Scott had five touchdowns in each season and hovered around 800 yards receiving every year.
He increased his touchdown total to seven in 1998. Then, in 1999, he had his best season statistically when he had 68 catches for 1022 yards and seven touchdowns.
In 2001, Scott would fall back down to around the 800 yards receiving we grew accustomed to but his receiving touchdown total fell to two.
The Bengals released Scott before the start of the 2002 season. Scott was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was released before the start of the season.
Scott would be picked up by the Dallas Cowboys and put up career lows in receptions (22), receiving yards (218) and touchdowns (one).
Scott would retire after that year.
Scott is still tied for sixth in the Bengals' record book in receiving touchdowns (36), and he is sixth in receptions (386) and receiving yards (5975).
Eric Dickerson: Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons
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Eric Dickerson set the single-season rushing record with 2105 yards in 1984, his second season in the league with the Los Angeles Rams.
Dickerson was the second overall pick in the 1983 draft. He burst on the scene with 1808 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns in his first season. In addition to breaking the rushing record in his second year, he also rushed for 14 touchdowns.
He had a "down" year in 1985 rushing for 1234 yards and 12 touchdowns. Then following year he again rushed for over 1800 yards (1821) and had 11 rushing touchdowns.
He was traded to the Colts during the 1987 season and would have another Pro Bowl season in 1988 when he rushed for 1659 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He would again make the Pro Bowl again for a final time in 1989, but it seemed his skills were starting to decline.
Dickerson remained with the Colts through the 1991 season and was traded before the 1992 season to the Raiders. He rushed for 729 yards and two touchdowns. He improved his yards-per-carry average from 3.2 to 3.9.
Oakland traded Dickerson to the Atlanta Falcons before the 1993 season. Dickerson would only rush for 91 yards on 26 carries with the team. He was then traded to Green Bay during the season but failed his physical and subsequently retired.
Dickerson is still fourth in Colts all-time leaders in rushing yards (5194) and second with the Rams in rushing yards (7245) and touchdowns (56).
Todd Lyght: Detroit Lions
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Todd Lyght was the fifth overall pick in the 1991 draft for the Los Angeles Rams.
He would play with the Rams for 10 seasons and was a pretty solid player for the team.
He would make his first and only Pro Bowl in his ninth season in 1999. It was also the same year as the Rams' miracle run to the Super Bowl. Lyght recorded a career high with six interceptions that year.
Lyght stayed with the Rams for one more year after the Super Bowl season. He left the Rams after the 2000 season and signed with Detroit.
He was a solid player his first year in Detroit and recorded 4 interceptions for the team.
In 2002, Lyght was pushed to a nickel role in favor of rookies on the Lions. Lyght would retire following the season after 12 years in the league.
He is still ranked fourth in the Rams' record books for interceptions with 31.
Joe Horn: Atlanta Falcons
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Joe Horn was a fifth-round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1996, but he didn't break out until he signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2000.
Horn played for the Saints for seven years and was a four-time Pro Bowler with the team.
On the Saints' career leaders list, Horn is currently first in receiving touchdowns (50) and second in receptions (523) and receiving yards (5622), behind only Eric Martin.
Horn played 41 fewer games as a Saint than Martin, which shows his dominance with the team.
Unfortunately, Horn wouldn't play his final season with the Saints. After a dispute with the team, Horn asked to be released in 2007.
Some reports said it had to do with Horn refusing a pay cut, but Horn said it didn't have to do with money (via espn.com).
Horn would sign with the Atlanta Falcons and start 12 games, but didn't put up the numbers he had previously. Horn only had 27 receptions for 243 yards and one receiving touchdown. His 9.0 yards per reception was the lowest of his career.
He asked for a trade after the season and was ultimately cut by the team.
Horn wouldn't play again and retired after signing a ceremonial contract with the Saints in 2010.
Greg Ellis: Oakland Raiders
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Greg Ellis played with the Dallas Cowboys for 11 seasons after being drafted eighth overall in the 1998 draft.
Ellis was a solid end for the Cowboys for many years. He averaged seven sacks a season during his run with the team.
Ellis became a bigger force as a sack artist when he moved to outside linebacker due to the Boys' switch to a 3-4 scheme.
He made his only Pro Bowl as a linebacker in 2007 when he had a career-high 12.5 sacks; it was the only time he would have double-digit sacks. He also won the Comeback Player of the Year Award that season.
Ellis ended up a cap casualty after the 2008 season and signed with the Oakland Raiders.
He moved back to his original position of defensive end with the Raiders and had seven sacks, keeping his career average at exactly seven per season.
Still, Ellis was released following to the 2009 season by the Raiders and wouldn't take the field again.
His 77 career Cowboy sacks is good for third in the team's record books.
William Fuller: San Diego Chargers
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William Fuller was a USFL star for the 1984 and 1985 seasons. He won two championships while in the league.
All the while, his rights were owned by the Buffalo Bills in the NFL. When the USFL folded in 1986, his rights were traded by the Rams to Houston in a package deal for quarterback Jim Everett.
Fuller would steadily improve with the Oilers and improved his sacks from a total of three in his first two seasons to 8.5 in his third.
He'd make his first Pro Bowl in 1991 when he sacked the quarterback a career-high 15 times.
Fuller was on the team for seven trips to playoffs. He played his last year with the team in 1993, which would be the franchise's last trip to the playoffs until 1999. He recorded 10 sacks in his final season.
Fuller moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent and was more recognized for his talents making three Pro Bowls in three years with the team. He had 9.5 sacks his first year with the team and then had 13 sacks in each of his next two seasons.
Fuller would leave the Eagles and sign a two-year deal with the San Diego Chargers.
With the Chargers, Fuller would post back-to-back seasons of three sacks, which was his lowest total since he had two in his second season.
Fuller would call it a career following his last season with the Chargers in 1998. He is still second in the Oiler/Titan record books in sacks with 59.
Ernest Givins: Jacksonville Jaguars
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Ernest Givins paired with Warren Moon to form a dangerous combination for the Houston Oilers for eight seasons.
Givins was a second-round pick in the 1986 NFL draft. He went over 1000 yards receiving in his first season, which was his only year he did so.
He was consistent with the team and made two Pro Bowls ('90, '92) . In 1990, he had one of his best statistical seasons with 72 catches for 979 yards and nine touchdowns.
Givins is first in receptions (542) and receiving yards (7935) in the Oiler/Titan record books. He also fifth in receiving touchdowns (46).
He was released from the Oilers following the 1994 season after posting career lows with 36 receptions, 521 yards and only one touchdown.
Givins signed with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars and wouldn't have a good season. He had 29 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged under 10 yards a catch (9.7) for the first time in his career.
He played in nine games with the Jags before the team released Givins, and his career was over.
Simeon Rice: Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts
Simeon Rice joined the Arizona Cardinals in 1993 after being the third overall pick in the NFL draft.
Rice was picked to get to the quarterback and he did just that. In his first season, he would sack the QB 12.5 times and earn the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.
He would notch 10 sacks in his third season in 1998 and help lead the Cardinals to a playoff appearance, their first since 1982.
The team would also win their first-round game against the Dallas Cowboys, their first postseason win since 1947.
Rice would make his first Pro Bowl the following season and notched 16.5 sacks, which would remain his career high.
In his fifth year, his sack numbers dropped to 7.5 and after the season, Rice was a free agent. He wanted to leave Arizona and ultimately signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Tampa Bay, Rice had five straight seasons with 10+ sacks. He made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2002 and 2003 with sacks totals of 15.5 and 15. He also helped the team win Super Bowl XXXVII.
He struggled in 2006 with injuries and only played half the season. He would only notch two sacks and was asked to take a pay cut after the season. He refused and Buccaneers released him.
In 2007, he signed with the Denver Broncos but asked for his release over issues with his playing time. He was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts and would play out the season with the team. He would record one sack on the season.
He played with the UFL in 2009 and Rice had commented in 2011 that he wanted to return to the Bucs, but his career ended after he bounced around in 2007.
Tra Thomas: Jacksonville Jaguars and San Diego Chargers
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Tra Thomas was the starting left tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles from the time he was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft.
Thomas was able to avoid serious injury and the most games he missed in a season was six in 2005. His most games missed with the Eagles outside of that season was one.
Thomas would make three Pro Bowls with the team and was one of the more underrated left tackles for his 11 seasons with the team.
He became a free agent after the 2008 season and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He only started three games that season seeing action in eight games total.
He was released following that season and signed with the San Diego Chargers for the 2010 season.
However, Thomas would retire before the start of the season, citing the inability to continue to play at a high level after knee surgery.
Andre Reed: Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins
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Andre Reed would be in the Hall of Fame if the selectors didn't snub every worthy wide receiver in recent years.
Reed was the No. 1 receiver for the Buffalo Bills during their run of four straight Super Bowl appearances (and losses) in the 1990s.
He was a fourth-round pick in the 1985 draft out of Kutztown.
Reed would make seven straight Pro Bowls with the Bills starting in 1988. He was one of the top receivers of the '90s and perhaps the best in the AFC.
Reed is the Bills all-time leader in receptions (941), receiving yards (13095) and receiving touchdowns (86). He did all this while only eclipsing 1000 yards three times and 10 receptions once. His longevity and consistency is apparent.
Reed would be released following the 1999 season after posting career lows for a 16-game season with 52 receptions for 536 yards and only one receiving touchdown. He was released following the season.
He signed with the Denver Broncos. However, Reed asked for his release when he was told he'd be on the inactive list for opening day.
He was then signed by Washington Redskins where he had 10 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. Reed decided to retire after the season.
Ending his career with the Redskins didn't stop him from signing a ceremonial contract to retire with the Bills.
Eddie George: Dallas Cowboys
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Eddie George was a Heisman Trophy winner with the Ohio State Buckeyes before the Houston Oilers took him with the 14th overall pick in the 1996 NFL draft.
George would prove to be a workhorse back in no time, rushing 335 times his first season for 1368 yards and eight touchdowns. He won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award that season.
He'd put up similar numbers the next season (now as a Titan) and this time was selected to the Pro Bowl, his first of four straight selections.
In 1999, he helped the team to a Super Bowl appearance (a loss to the St. Louis Rams). He continued his duties as workhorse back and ran the ball 320 times for 1304 and nine touchdowns. He also had 47 receptions for 458 yards and four receiving touchdowns.
In 2000, he carried the ball over 400 times (403) for 1509 yards and a career high of 14 rushing touchdowns.
The following season George would only average 3.0 yards a carry and it was clear that his bruising, workhorse style was catching up to him. He would only rush for 939 yards and five touchdowns that year.
In his final two seasons, he would rush for over 1000 yards in both seasons and even had 12 touchdowns in 2002. However, he wouldn't reach 3.5 yards a carry in either season.
Following the 2003 season, George was a cap casualty of the Titans but signed on with the Dallas Cowboys.
With the Cowboys, George posted career lows in attempts (132), rushing yards (432) and rushing touchdowns (four). He retired following the season, clearly slowed by the years of hits and carries.
George is still the Oilers/Titans all-time leader in attempts (2733), rushing yards (10009) and second in rushing touchdowns (64).
Nate Newton: Carolina Panthers
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Nate Newton started his career being a training-camp cut with the Washington Redskins, he then signed on with the USFL and played for two years until the league folded.
Newton was signed by the Cowboys after the USFL folded. The mammoth lineman was versatile on the line; while primarily a guard, he was able to kick out to right tackle for the Cowboys as a starter for two seasons.
He came into his own on in the '90s and made six Pro Bowls at guard for Dallas ('92-'95, '98).
He was a part of the great Cowboys teams that won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Newton was an improbable tale of castoff that turned into a star.
He would leave the Cowboys after his 1998 Pro Bowl season and sign with the Carolina Panthers.
Newton wouldn't start a game with the Panthers but did appear in seven games. It was the last season he played in the NFL.
After his playing career, Newton got in trouble with the law on drug charges. After serving time, he has since turned the negative into a positive and talks to people about his past so they avoid his pitfalls.
He also looks like a Muppet version of himself after losing almost 200 pounds after weight-loss surgery.
LeCharles Bentley: Cleveland Browns
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LeCharles Bentley might be the player with the shortest career on this list.
Bentley's career only lasted four seasons on the field, yet, the Ohio State product made the Pro Bowl at two different positions on the line.
Bentley was a second-round pick in 2002 of the New Orleans Saints. He started at guard to start his career and made the Pro Bowl in 2003.
He moved back to his natural position of center in 2004 and in 2005 would make the Pro Bowl again.
Bentley was a free agent after the 2005 season and many consider him the top one at any position. It was rumored Bentley had agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Eagles but he would end up signing with his hometown Cleveland Browns.
In the first 11-on-11 drill of training camp in 2006, Bentley tore his patellar tendon and his first season was over. The injury required four surgeries due to Bentley contracting a staph infection and virus that almost caused his leg to be amputated (via ESPN.com).
He didn't play in the 2007 season, but returned to the practice field for the Browns in 2008.
However, he asked for and received his release from the team. He received interest from several teams but didn't sign with anyone and after the season ceded that his career was over.
After his playing career, Bentley sued the Browns over the staph infection he contracted at the team's facilities (via cleveland.com).
Ike Hilliard: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Ike Hilliard was a seventh-round pick of the New York Giants in the 1997 NFL draft.
He was a solid running mate for Amani Toomer; Hilliard would even become a starter in 1998, a year before Toomer.
He helped the Giants reach Super Bowl XXXV. In the NFC Championship Game, Hilliard would have 10 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns. However, the team wouldn't fare so well in the Super Bowl losing 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens.
Hilliard had trouble with injuries in his career from the start; he had spinal surgery as a rookie, but still managed to be a productive NFL wide receiver.
Finally after the 2004 season, the Giants decided to move on from Hilliard. He caught on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He played four seasons with the Bucs and got a chance to start in his third season with the team in 2007. He had 62 receptions, one receiving touchdown and 722 yards. The 722 receiving yards were his highest since 2000.
Hilliard was released after 2008 and signed a ceremonial contract to retire a Giant.
Hilliard ranks fifth in the Giants' record books in receptions with 368.
Ruben Brown: Chicago Bears
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Ruben Brown was one of the best guards ever to play for the Buffalo Bills.
The Pittsburgh product was the 14th overall pick in the 1995 draft and instantly became a starter.
Brown manned the left guard position for the Bills for nine years. He made the Pro Bowl eight straight times following his rookie season.
He would even be named to the Bills' 50th anniversary team.
After his ninth season, with the Bills he became a cap casualty, some said it was due to friction over the way the offense was being run (via rochester.ynn.com).
He was signed by the Bears and only started nine games his first season in 2004, the lowest total of his career.
He would bounce back and in his third season (2006) with the team made his ninth Pro Bowl. The Bears would make the Super Bowl that season, but lost to the Indianapolis Colts 29-17.
Brown would play one more season with the Bears and the team decided not to bring him back following the expiration of his contract.
Brown wouldn't play in the NFL in 2008 and retired that following season on Buffalo radio station WECK. (via ESPN.com)
Flozell Adams: Pittsburgh Steelers
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Flozell Adams might be the only person on this list that isn't officially retired.
The 6'7" 340 pound tackle was a second-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1998 draft.
The Michigan State product started out as a guard with the Cowboys before moving to left tackle with the team.
He made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2003 and 2004 with the team. In 2005, Adams suffered a torn ACL, but he wouldn't allow that to slow him down.
He would make three straight Pro Bowls after the injury.
The tackle was penalty-prone at times, but was still one of the better left tackles in the NFL for his 12 year career with the Cowboys.
He signed on with the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 2010 season. He helped stabilize a weak line ravaged by injuries enough to help the team make it to Super Bowl XLV, which the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers.
The Steelers released him before the start of the 2011 season, and it looks like his career may be over.
Gary Clark: Miami Dolphins
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Gary Clark was another USFL player who went to the NFL and became a star.
Clark was a supplemental pick of the Washington Redskins in the 1984 draft of USFL and CFL players. He would join the Redskins in 1985 and immediately made an impact in the passing game with 72 receptions for 926 yards and five touchdowns.
He would make the first of four Pro Bowls in his second season when he caught 74 receptions for 1265 yards and seven touchdowns.
Clark played alongside Art Monk for the majority of his career and helped the Redskins have a solid passing attack.
Clark helped the team win two Super Bowls (XXII, XXVI).
In Super Bowl XXII against the Broncos, Clark had one rush for 25 yards and three receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown and in Super Bowl XXVI against the Bills, Clark had a monster game with seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.
He would leave the Redskins following the 1992 season and join the Phoenix Cardinals. He posted lows in 1993 in receiving yards (818) and touchdowns (four).
In 1994, he would again pass career lows in receiving yards (771) and touchdowns (one). He also had a low in receptions with 50.
He would join the Miami Dolphins, and even Dan Marino couldn't re-energize his career. He only caught two touchdowns and 37 receptions for 525 yards. It would be the last season Clark would play.
Clark is still third all-time for the Redskins in receptions (549) and receiving yards (8742). He is also tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns with 58.
Henry Ellard: New England Patriots and Washington Redskins
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Henry Ellard was the 32nd overall pick in the 1983 NFL draft for the Los Angeles Rams; which was a second-round pick then, but now would be the last pick of the first round.
Ellard made the Pro Bowl in his second season as a return man, but quickly blossomed into a threat at wide receiver.
He really broke out in his sixth season with the team (1988) when he had 86 receptions for 1414 yards and 10 receptions. He made his first of two back-to-back Pro Bowls as a receiver and this would be the first of four straight 1000-yard seasons.
He had a monster season in 1989, even though he missed a couple of games. He had 70 receptions for 1382 yards and eight touchdowns.
After a couple of down years in 1992 and 1993, Ellard joined the Washington Redskins. He would produce three straight 1000-yard season with the Redskins.
His first season with the team was his best with 74 receptions for 1307 yards and six touchdowns.
His play dropped off in his fourth season with the team and he posted a season that was his worst since 1986 (he played in only nine games total that year).
He signed with the New England Patriots in 1998 due to injuries the team had suffered. He wouldn't last the season and would return to Washington, but he only saw limited action.
Ellard is still third all-time for the Rams in receptions (593) and receiving yards (9761) and fourth in receiving touchdowns (48).
Now, the former wide receiver has spent some time coaching wideouts in the NFL. He currently is on the Saints coaching staff.
Sam Mills: Carolina Panthers
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Sam Mills was a 5'9" middle linebacker, but his heart and hard work made him seem like he was 7 feet tall.
Due to his size, it was hard for Mills to catch on in the NFL. He was cut by the Cleveland Browns and couldn't make it in the CFL before catching on with the Jim Mora-led Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the USFL.
The Mills and Mora combination would lead the team to three straight championship games, winning the last two.
The USFL would go under and Mora would be hired by the NFL to coach the New Orleans Saints. Mora would decide to bring Mills along with him; it'd be one of his best decisions.
Mills manned the middle for the great New Orleans linebacker group known as the Dome Patrol. He would make four Pro Bowls in his career with the Saints.
Mora would say that the leader of his defense was the greatest player he ever coached (via lasportshall.com).
As he was getting on in years, the Saints would let Mills move on, and Mills signed with the expansion Carolina Panthers at the age of 36.
Age didn't slow down the middle linebacker and he'd provide a veteran presence for the team on defense. He'd make his fifth and final Pro Bowl in 1996 with the Panthers while helping the team a year removed from expansion to an NFC Championship game.
He'd play three years with the Panthers and would play them at a high level. After his age-38 season, Mills retired.
Mills would become a coach with the Panthers in 1998 and would coach until 2004.
Sadly, Mills would start his battle with cancer in 2003 but still continued to coach with the disease. Ultimately, the disease claimed the former linebacker's life in 2005.
His No. 51 is retired with the Panthers.
Roger Craig: Los Angeles Raiders and Minnesota Vikings
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Roger Craig was a complete back for the most dominant team of the '80s.
Craig was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1983 NFL draft. He would be listed as primarily a fullback for his first few seasons.
In his first season, he rushed 176 times for 725 yards and eight touchdowns and he also caught 48 passes for 427 yards and four touchdowns.
He would break out in his third season making the first of four Pro Bowls with the Niners. In that season, Craig became the first player to have 1000 yards rushing and 1000 yards receiving in the same season.
In 1988, he would have his best season rushing. He rushed 310 times for 1502 yards and nine touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl as a running back.. He would make his final Pro Bowl in 1989 with the 49ers.
He left San Francisco following the 1990 season after average only 3.1 yards a carry and not being the same force in the passing game he'd been in the past. Still, he left a three-time Super Bowl champion (XIX, XXIII, XXIV).
He joined the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991 and continued to show signs of slowing down. He only had one total touchdown and only 17 receptions on the season.
He moved on to the Minnesota Vikings and was more of a force in a backup role. In his first season in 1992, he brought his yards per carry up to 4.0. He ran for 416 yards and four touchdowns and also had 22 receptions for 164 yards.
He didn't fare as well in his second season. He only rushed 38 times for 119 yards and one touchdown while adding 19 receptions for 169 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Craig retired after the 1993 season, but did the ceremonial contract to retire a 49er.
In the 49ers' record books, Craig is still first in rushing attempts, third in rushing yards, second in rushing touchdowns and third in receptions.
Aeneas Williams: St. Louis Rams
Aeneas Williams was a third-round pick for the Phoenix Cardinals in the 1991 draft.
He was one of a few bright spots with the Cardinals in his many years with the team.
Aeneas made his first Pro Bowl in 1994 when he tied for the league lead in interceptions with nine. He would prove to be one of the best corners in the NFL throughout his career.
That Pro Bowl would be the first of six straight appearances in NFL's all-star game.
Playing for the team wasn't always great. With the Cardinals, he'd only make one playoff appearance in 1998 in his 10 years with the team.
With Williams 33 years old, the Cardinals decided to trade the cornerback to the St. Louis Rams for a pair of draft picks in 2001.
Williams would make the Pro Bowl with the Rams in his first season and return two interceptions for touchdowns. He would play another season at corner until the Rams moved the versatile Williams to safety.
In his first season at safety in 2003, Williams made his last Pro Bowl in his career. He'd play one more season with the Rams in 2004 before retiring.
Williams is second in the Cardinals' records books for interceptions with 46 and first in interceptions returned for touchdowns with six.
He was also a Hall of Fame finalist this year and will no doubt end up in Canton someday.
Anthony Munoz: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Some might say that Anthony Munoz doesn't fit on this list because he didn't actually take a snap with any team in the NFL besides the Bengals; but it's my list and I do what I want.
Munoz was a left tackle for USC that was taken third overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1980 NFL draft.
In 13 years with the Bengals, Munoz would cement his place as one of the greatest lineman of all time.
Munoz made his first Pro Bowl in his second season and then he made another—and another—and another, till finally he had made 11 straight appearances on the Pro Bowl roster.
Munoz even played in two Super Bowls with the Bengals; two losses to the San Francisco 49ers (XVI, XXIII).
Injuries limited Munoz in 1992 and it would end up his final season with the Bengals.
Munoz signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 1993, but decided to retire before the start of the season. The only evidence I could find in picture form that Munoz ever signed with the Bucs was this football card that says "Tampa Bay Buccaneers" on top.
Munoz was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1998 and will always be one of the greatest Cincinnati Bengals ever to play football.
Orlando Pace: Chicago Bears
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In 1996, Orlando Pace was one of the few lineman ever to finish as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
He was a great NFL prospect, so it's not a surprise that when the St. Louis Rams traded the New York Jets for the No. 1 overall selection in the 1997 NFL draft, the team selected Ohio State's Orlando Pace.
The giant lineman was a Ram for 12 seasons and one of the better left tackles the NFL had to offer; the Jets probably should have kept the pick, but that's a story for another time.
Pace would help in the turnaround of the Rams franchise who, at the time of his selection, were going nowhere and fast.
Pace made seven straight Pro Bowls with the Rams from 1999-2005 and kept Kurt Warner upright for the Rams run as "The Greatest Show of Turf."
Pace helped the Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans 23-16.
Pace was franchised three times in his career before agreeing to a long-term deal with the Rams in 2005. Pace didn't miss many games until a year after signing the big deal. In 2006 and 2007, he'd be limited to nine total games.
He bounced back in 2008 and started 14 games.
Like with most big deals, Pace wouldn't get to finish out the contract and was cut in 2009 to free cap space.
Pace would then sign a three-year deal with the Chicago Bears. Pace would begin the season as the starter but eventually gave way to first-round pick Chris Williams at tackle. Pace wasn't the dominant lineman we'd seen in the past.
The Chicago Bears cut him after the season and Pace wouldn't catch on with another team.
He still may ultimately end up in the Hall of Fame one day.
Fred Taylor: New England Patriots
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Fred Taylor was the second running back taken in the 1998 NFL draft; he was taken behind Penn State running back Curtis Enis.
Taylor would play 11 years with the Jaguars, only eight more years than Enis played. For the longest time, Taylor was one of the most productive, under-appreciated backs in the entire NFL.
In his rookie season, Taylor rushed 264 times for 1223 yards and 14 touchdowns. There were high hopes after his monster rookie season, but Taylor would battle injuries his next three years.
In his second season, he only started nine games but rushed for over 700 yards and six touchdowns while maintaining a 4.6 yards-per-carry average.
He started 13 games in his third season and averaged 107.6 rushing yards per game. He upped his yards-per-carry average to 4.8 and rushed 292 for 1399 yards and had 12 rushing touchdowns.
Many dubbed Taylor as injury-prone and in his fourth season he missed all but two games, which didn't help the perception.
After that difficult season, Taylor would rush for over 1000 yards with the team five more times, and he'd even rush for over 1500 yards in 2003.
Taylor would finally make the Pro Bowl in 2007 when he was in a timeshare at running back with Maurice Jones-Drew. He carried the ball 223 times for 1202 yards and five touchdowns while maintaining a 5.4 yards-per-carry average.
Taylor only rushed for 556 yards and one touchdown in 2008 and he averaged 3.9 yards per carry, his lowest totals since playing two games in 2001.
The Jaguars were ready to give MJD the load as feature back and released Taylor after the season.
Taylor signed with the New England Patriots and played for two seasons with the team. Taylor battled injuries in his two seasons with the team only rushing a total of 106 times for 424 yards and four touchdowns.
Taylor would retire after that season but first signed a one-day contract with the Jaguars to retire with the team.
He is still first in attempts (2428), rushing yards (11271) and tied for first in rushing touchdowns (62) in the Jaguars' record book.
Mike Webster: Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Webster was a member of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers' draft class of 1974. The team selected four Hall of Famers in that draft; Webster is of course one of them.
Webster was an iron man at the center position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played 15 seasons with the Steelers and appeared in 220 games, both are more than any other Steeler in history.
Webster made nine total Pro Bowls with the Steelers and had a string of eight straight from 1978-1985. He also won four Super Bowls with the team (IX, X, XIII, XIV).
After the 1988 season, the Steelers decided to move on from Webster. He signed on with Kansas City Chiefs to help coach the offensive line, but in a matter of weeks Webster returned to the field and started all 16 games in 1989 for the Chiefs.
He played another season in 1990 before retiring from the NFL.
Webster was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, but unfortunately for Webster his retirement wasn't the greatest.
Webster would battle many ailments and would only live until the age of 50, dying in 2002 in Pittsburgh.
ESPN.com does a better job explaining the post-NFL life/death of Webster in this five-part story; it's worth a read.
Carl Pickens: Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys
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Carl Pickens might be remembered best for the "Carl Pickens Clause" that prohibits players from bashing the organizations through threat of forfeiture of signing bonus money (via bengals.enquirer.com), but he was a pretty good player, too.
Pickens was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1992 NFL draft and went on to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year that season. He had 26 catches for 326 yards and one touchdown and also added 18 punt returns for 229 and one touchdown.
He would increase his receiving numbers in his second year, but would really blossom in his third season as a receiver. He would have 71 receptions for 1127 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Pickens started to establish himself as a No. 1 receiver and the following season he'd make his first Pro Bowl. He had 99 receptions for 1234 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 17 receiving touchdowns still stands as a Bengals' single-season record.
He would get 100 receptions in 1996, making his second and final Pro Bowl. He also added 1180 yards and 12 touchdowns that season.
He went over 1000 yards once more with the team in 1998.
Pickens was released following the 1999 season after criticizing the franchise and head coach Bruce Coslet towards the end of the season.
He signed with the Tennessee Titans and put up his worst statistical season. He recorded only 10 receptions for 242 yards and zero touchdowns while appearing in nine games starting five.
He signed with the Dallas Cowboys for the 2001 season (picture via millercards.net). However, Pickens retired before participating in anything with the Cowboys citing injuries.
Pickens is still second all-time in receptions (530) and receiving touchdowns (63) and third in receiving yards (6887) in the Bengals' record books.
Jim Jeffcoat: Buffalo Bills
Jim Jeffcoat was a first-round selection for the Dallas Cowboys in 1983.
The defensive end didn't start in his rookie season and only recorded two sacks in limited action.
Jeffcoat would take over as a starter in his second season. He would record three straight seasons of 10+ sacks with 11.5, 12 and 14 sacks, respectively.
He played 12 totals for the Cowboys but never made a Pro Bowl with the team despite getting double digit sacks a total of five times with the team.
He won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII) with both wins coming against the Buffalo Bills. He recorded at least one sack in each Super Bowl appearance.
In 1990 and 1991, it seemed like Jeffcoat's best pass rushing days were behind him and he recorded 3.5 and 4.0 sacks those season.
Jeffcoat lost his starting job in 1992, but bounced back and managed to record 10.5 sacks in that season.
After the 1994 season, Jeffcoat signed with the Cowboys' Super Bowl nemesis, the Buffalo Bills.
He played three seasons in Buffalo and had 2.5 sacks his first season. In his second season, he was better and got had five sacks for the Bills.
His last season he only appeared in seven games and recorded a career low with .5 sacks. He retired after the season and went on to coach, spending seven seasons with the Cowboys (1998-2005).
He currently is the assistant coach/defensive line coach for the Houston Cougars.
Jeffcoat still sits second in the Cowboys' record books in sacks with 94.5.
Ron Yary: Los Angeles Rams
Ron Yary was the first offensive lineman ever to be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft.
The Minnesota Vikings traded future Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants for the rights to the first pick in the 1968 draft.
The Vikings selected USC's Yary and would man the right tackle position for the team for the majority of 14 seasons.
Yary made seven straight Pro Bowls for the Vikings from 1971-1977. He also played in four Super Bowls with the the team (IV, VIII, IX, XI), but they'd lose every single game.
He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams following the 1981 season for a 10th round pick. Yary would see time in eight games with the team but didn't start one of them.
He retired following the season.
The hard-nosed Yary will always be remembered for his willingness to play through injuries and pain. His page on the Hall of Fame's website says that Yary even played with a broken foot.
Yary was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Herman Moore: New York Giants
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In his first season Herman Moore only had 11 receptions for 135 yards and zero touchdowns. By the end of his career, he'd own every major Detroit Lions' receiving record.
Moore was a 10th overall pick of the Detroit Lions in the 1991 NFL Draft. After a poor rookie regular season, Moore had a solid performance in the Detroit's first round playoff win. In the game he had six receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.
He continued strong after his playoff performance and he followed it up with back to back 900 yard seasons.
Moore truly broke out as a no. 1 wide receiver in his fourth season. He would make the first of four straight Pro Bowls that season. He caught 72 passes for 1173 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He followed that up in 1995 with a then NFL single season record of 123 receptions. He added 1686 yards and 14 touchdowns in what would be his best statistical season.
He would have two more 100 receptions seasons in 1996 and 1997.
In 1999, Moore was slowed by injuries and only started four games and had 16 receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns.
Moore started 12 games the following year but only nabbed 40 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns.
In 2001, Moore again battled injuries only starting one game and had only four receptions for 76 that season. He was cut by the Lions following that season.
Moore would catch on with the New York Giants during the 2002 season. The only picture I can find as evidence is a Giants' helmet signed by Herman Moore on Huggins and Scott Auctions.
He only played in one game with the team and recorded no stats. He decided to retire in December of that year.
Moore's 670 receptions, 9174 yards and 62 receiving touchdowns are still first in the Lions' record books.
Tim Brown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Tim Brown was the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner and was selected sixth overall by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1988 NFL draft.
Brown took a few years to come into his own as a receiver, but when he did, he broke out in a big way.
Brown would make the Pro Bowl as a return man in his first season. He led the NFL in return yards (1098) and return average (26.8) and added 43 receptions for 725 and five receiving touchdowns.
Brown only played in one game the following season and didn't factor much as a receiver again until 1991 when he again made the Pro Bowl as a return man but had 36 receptions for 554 yards and five touchdowns.
Brown would break out as a top receiver in 1993. He made the first of seven Pro Bowls as a receiver. He had 80 receptions for 1180 yards and seven touchdowns.
That season would be the first of nine straight 1000-yard seasons for Brown. During this time, Brown would establish himself as one of the truly elite receivers in the NFL.
He played alongside Jerry Rice from 2001-2003 and both players saw a Pro Bowl appearance during this time. During the 2002 season, the team made it all the way to the Super Bowl but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Brown's numbers fell off with the entire Raiders team in 2005. The team limped to a 4-12 finish and Brown had 52 receptions for 567 yards and two touchdowns. These were his lowest totals since 1991.
Brown was released before the 2004 season and signed on with former coach Jon Gruden and the team that defeated the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He would play in 15 games with Tampa, starting four. However, he only recorded 24 receptions for 200 yards and one touchdown. He retired after the season, but did so after signing a one-day contract with the Raiders.
Brown is first all-time in receptions (1070), receiving yards (14734) and receiving touchdowns (99) in the Raiders' record books.
Neil Smith: San Diego Chargers
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Neil Smith was one of the main faces of the Kansas City Chiefs during his run with the team.
The Chiefs coveted Smith in the 1988 draft and had to trade up with the Detroit Lions to snag the second overall selection to assure Smith would be theirs.
He only had 2.5 sacks his first season in 1988 while not starting, but would blossom quickly into a force at defensive end.
Smith would make five straight Pro Bowls from 1991-1995 with the Chiefs. He went over 10 sacks with the team four times. He had sack totals of 14.5, 15, 11.5 and 12 from 1992-95.
He helped the team to an AFC Championship Game in 1993, but the Chiefs lost to the Bills in the game 30-13.
Smith signed with the Chiefs' division rival Denver Broncos in 1997 and made the Pro Bowl his first season with the team.
He also won two Super Bowls in his first two years with the team (XXXII, XXXIII). The team defeated the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons to win the big games.
Smith signed with another division rival in the San Diego Chargers following his three-year stint with the Broncos. He saw time in 10 games, but only recorded five tackles. It'd be the last season of Neil Smith's career.
Smith still ranks second all-time in the Chiefs' record books in sacks with 85.5, behind only late teammate Derrick Thomas.
Larry Allen: San Francisco 49ers
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Larry Allen was a second-round pick out of Sonoma State in the 1994 NFL draft.
The 6'3" 325-pound lineman was versatile. Best suited for guard, Allen could also pop outside to the tackle position. He made the Pro Bowl at both guard and tackle in his career.
Larry Allen won a championship in his second season with the Cowboys when the team defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
Allen made 10 Pro Bowls with the Cowboys from 1995-2001 and then from 2003-2005. Allen probably would have made the Pro Bowl in 2002 too, but he battled injuries and only started five games that season.
The Cowboys would release Allen after the 2005 season due to salary-cap issues. Allen would sign with one of the greatest rivals of the Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers.
His first year with the 49ers in 2006, Allen would make the Pro Bowl though he only started 11 games. He may have been selected more for his name than his play at that point in his career.
Allen would play another season with San Francisco and start all 16 games.
After that season, at age 36, Allen decided to retire. He would sign a ceremonial contract with Dallas to retire as a Cowboy.
This past November, Allen was inducted into the Dallas Cowboys' Ring of Honor and he may even end up in Canton someday.
Don Maynard: St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams
Don Maynard flamed out in the NFL after one season with the New York Giants in 1958.
He played with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1959, but came back to the States and signed with the AFL's New York Titans in 1959.
It's fair to say the AFL was looked down on by the NFL and Maynard was viewed as an NFL flame-out.
In his first season with the Titans, Maynard had 72 receptions for 1265 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Maynard made his first AFL All-Star team in 1965, by then the Titans had switched their name to the Jets. He had 68 receptions, 1218 yards and caught a league-high 14 touchdowns
He'd be an AFL All-Star three more times from 1967-1969. In 1967, he had 71 receptions for a career high 1434 yards and added 10 touchdowns.
In 1968, Maynard had a fine season. He had 57 catches for 1297 and 10 touchdowns. He also averaged a career-high 22.8 yards a catch.
That season, Jets would do the impossible and defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Maynard was nursing a hamstring injury and was used more as a decoy during the game; he registered zero catches.
After the 1969 season, Maynard showed signs of slowing down. From 1970-1972, he had only four receiving touchdowns. He also posted his lowest receiving numbers since 1961.
The Jets traded Maynard to the St. Louis Cardinals following the 1972 season. Maynard only record one catch for 18 yards in two games with the Cardinals.
He was cut and signed with the Los Angeles Rams, but didn't see any game action.
Maynard retired and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
He is the New York Titans/Jets career leader in receptions (627), receiving yards (11732) and receiving touchdowns (88). His No. 13 is also retired by the organization.
Junior Seau: Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots
Junior Seau was the face of the San Diego Chargers in the '90s; he accomplished this with one of the worst mustaches the world had ever seen (via chicagonow.com).
Seau was the fifth overall selection in the 1990 draft out of USC. He became an immediate starter at linebacker for the Chargers.
He made the Pro Bowl in his second season, it would be the first of 12 straight Pro Bowls he made with the Chargers.
Seau could do it all. He was a great tackler, he could rush the passer and he wasn't too shabby in coverage. He was everything you'd want in a linebacker.
Seau helped lead the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance (XXIX), but the team was crushed by the San Francisco 49ers 49-26.
He was traded to the Miami Dolphins for a fifth-round pick (the pick turned into Michael Turner) in 2003. Seau started 15 games in 2003 and continued to play at a high level. He recorded three sacks and 96 combined tackles.
Seau battled injuries in 2004 and 2005 and was limited to 15 total games and only 13 starts. Seau was released by the Dolphins and retired after the season.
His retirement didn't even last a week and Seau signed with the New England Patriots. Seau started 10 games his first season, but again saw his season end due to injury.
He came back in 2007 at age 38 and had his most productive season in a few years. He played in 16 games, starting four and had 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and had 74 combined tackles.
That year, the Patriots went undefeated, but lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Seau's Super Bowl win once again eluded him.
He was brought back the next two years by the Patriots after the season had already started. Seau last played in 2009 in his age-40 season.
Due to the NFL only keeping tackles as an official stat since 2001, it's difficult to pinpoint where many of the pre-2000s tacklers land in the statistic.
I've seen Seau placed at 1288 tackles according to profootballreference.com, which would rank him first all-time in the Chargers' organization.
UPDATE: Sadly after this article was written Junior Seau was found dead due to a self inflicted gunshot wound. The future Hall of Famer will be missed. (via TMZ.com)
Warren Moon: Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs
Moon was a successful college quarterback at the University of Washington but didn't get a sniff in the 1978 NFL draft. Some point to his refusal to switch positions, others point to the color of his skin as the reason for this.
Moon had to make it to the NFL the hard way. He started off in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos and split time at quarterback with Tom Wilkinson. The team would win five straight Grey Cups in Moon's first five seasons.
In his sixth and final season in the CFL, Moon won the league's most outstanding player award.
He then decided to try his hand at the NFL in 1984 and the Houston Oilers won the bidding for Moon's services.
In his first three seasons, Moon would have three straight 10-loss seasons. He also threw 40 touchdowns and 59 interceptions.
Moon settled down in his fourth season, and became a Pro Bowler in his fifth NFL season in 1988.
He made six straight Pro Bowls with the Oilers from 1988-1993. The Oilers were one of the most talented teams during this time and the team made seven straight playoff appearances from 1987-1993.
Moon and company failed to make an AFC Championship Game appearance. After 1993, the Oilers were ready to move on from Moon and they traded the 37-year-old quarterback to the Minnesota Vikings.
Moon made back-to-back Pro Bowls in his first two seasons in Minnesota. But, in his third year, an injury cost him his starting job and Moon was released after refusing a pay cut following the 1996 season.
Entering his age-41 season in 1997, Moon signed with the Seattle Seahawks and would throw for 3678 yards, 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Moon made his last appearance on the Pro Bowl roster that season.
He started 10 games in 1998 with the Seahawks in 1998, but he didn't play as well as he had in 1997. He was released following the season.
Moon finally signed with the Chiefs where he spent two seasons as a backup before finally retiring at age 44.
Moon is a member of both the Pro Football and Canadian Football Halls of Fame. He is also the Oilers/Titans all-time leader in completions (2632), attempts (4546), passing yards (33685) and touchdown passes (196).
Deion Sanders: Baltimore Ravens
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Deion Sanders bounced around the NFL a lot. He played for Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington before his first retirement from the NFL.
Still, due to the fact he took three seasons off before returning for the Baltimore Ravens, I will include him on this list.
He was drafted by the Falcons in the 1989 NFL draft; the draft had four of the top five players make the Hall of Fame.
Sanders was one of the best athletes ever to play the game and often played professional baseball during his time in the NFL. Deion was a great return man and cornerback, though his tackling skills left something to be desired.
He played five seasons in Atlanta and made the Pro Bowl his last three years with the team.
The Falcons allowed him to move on after the 1993 season and Deion signed with the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year deal.
He made the Pro Bowl with the Niners and many viewed him as the missing piece for the team. Sure enough, the 49ers went on to win the Super Bowl that season and Sanders had an interception in the big game.
He signed with the Dallas Cowboys after the start of the 1995 season. He also would win another championship that year, he even had a catch for 47 yards in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He played four more years for the Cowboys and was a Pro Bowler in each of them. The Cowboys afforded Sanders a chance to play more offensive snaps at first. In 1996, he had 36 receptions for 475 yards and one touchdown.
After his contract was up, Deion signed with the Washington Redskins for the 2000 season. He played well and recorded four interceptions with the team, but decided to retire following that season.
He wanted to join the Oakland Raiders during their 2002 season in which they made the Super Bowl. The Redskins granted his release, but former coach Marty Schottenheimer and the San Diego Chargers claimed him. Sanders chose to stay retired.
Finally, Deion returned to the NFL in 2004 at age 37 as a nickel for the Baltimore Ravens. He played two seasons and in his time back, he intercepted five passes and returned one for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, the Ravens failed to make the playoffs both seasons and Sanders retired for good after the 2005 season.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
James Lofton: Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles
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James Lofton was a dangerous speedster as a wide receiver that had the ability to take it to the house whenever he touched the ball.
Lofton wasn't only a football star in college but also a track star as well. The Packers took him with the sixth pick in the 1978 NFL draft.
He made the Pro Bowl his first season when he had 46 receptions for 818 yards and six touchdowns.
In his third season, Lofton had his first 1000+ yard season. He had 71 receptions for 1226 yards and four touchdowns. He made his second Pro Bowl; it'd also be his first of six straight with the Packers.
Lofton had five 1000-yard seasons with the Packers and in 1983 and 1984 averaged at least 22 yards a reception. He also had over 1300 yards receiving in both seasons.
The Packers traded Lofton to the Raiders before the 1987 season. He spent two seasons with the team and didn't seem to have a lot left. In his last season, he had 28 receptions for 549 yards and zero touchdowns, his worst season statistically.
He was released by the Raiders and moved on to the Buffalo Bills. Lofton only had eight receptions for 166 and three touchdowns in his first season, but he'd again turn into a significant contributor.
He also made three Super Bowl appearances with the Bills (XXV, XXVI, XXVII), but the team lost all three.
In 1991, after five years failing to make a Pro Bowl, Lofton would make his final trip to the NFL's all-star game. At 35, Lofton showed there was more in the tank when he caught 57 passes for 1072 yards and eight touchdowns.
Lofton was released before the 1993 season. He was signed by the Los Angeles Rams but only saw action in one game, making one reception for 16 yards, before being released.
He was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles and had 13 receptions for 167 yards and failed to record a touchdown. After the season Lofton called it quits.
Lofton is still second in the Packers' record books in receiving yards with 9656 and third in receptions with 530. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Derrick Mason: New York Jets and Houston Texans
Not often do fourth-round picks turn into No. 1 wide receivers, but Derrick Mason was an exception.
Mason was picked by the Tennessee Oilers in the 1997 draft. His first three years in the league, Mason was primarily a return specialist.
In his fourth season, he had 63 receptions for 895 yards and five touchdowns. He led the league in punt returns (51) and punt return yards (662). In addition, he broke the NFL record for all-purpose yards with 2690 (which has since been broken by Darren Sproles). He would make the Pro Bowl that year (2000).
The now-Tennessee Titans started focusing Mason more on receiving and he rewarded them with four straight 1000-yard receiving seasons.
He again made the Pro Bowl in 2003 when he caught 95 balls for 1303 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Titans released Mason following the 2004 season, and he quickly found a home with the Baltimore Ravens.
Mason was a bright spot in the Baltimore passing game that at times seemed lacking. His best season came in 2007 with the team when he had 103 receptions for 1087 yards and five touchdowns.
He went over 1000 yards four times with the Ravens.
He was released following the 2010 season and signed on with the New York Jets. As the locker room crumbled for the Jets, Mason was dealt to the Houston Texans. The Texans released Mason before the end of the season.
He had one of his worst statistical seasons ever with 19 receptions for 170 yards and zero touchdowns. Mason announced he would retire in January, ending a solid career on a sour note.
Mason is the Ravens' career leader in receptions with 471 and yards with 5777. He is also second in touchdown catches with 29.
Ronnie Lott: New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs
Ronnie Lott was one of the toughest men to ever take the field. He played tough, he hit tough; the guy amputated his pinky finger just to play football for crying out loud (video via NFL.com).
Lott was a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 NFL draft. He started off as a cornerback and in his first season intercepted the ball seven times. He took three of the interceptions back for touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
In that first season, Lott also won a Super Bowl (XVI) when the 49ers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21. The Niners won a Super Bowl (XIX) again in his fourth season defeating the Miami Dolphins 38-16.
Lott would switch to safety full-time in 1986 and had a career-high 10 interceptions. He made six straight Pro Bowl appearances at safety.
He would win back-to-back Super Bowls with San Francisco (XXIII, XXIV) by again defeating the Bengals (20-16) and by destroying the Denver Broncos (55-10).
Lott would play the 1990 season with the 49ers, but moved on after the season. He signed with the Los Angeles Raiders and made his last Pro Bowl and led the league in interceptions with eight.
He played another season with the Raiders intercepting a career low of one pass before signing with the Jets in 1993.
He didn't seem to fit in a Jets jersey as you can see in the above picture, but was still serviceable at safety his first year with the team. He intercepted three passes and had over 100 tackles.
In his second year with the Jets, Lott didn't intercept a pass for the first time in his career. The Jets also limped to a 6-10 finish that season.
He signed with the Chiefs in 1995, but was injured in preseason and spent the year on I.R.
I know his Wikipedia page says he signed with the 49ers but decided to retire due to injuries, but I couldn't confirm that anywhere so he still makes the list.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. He is still the 49ers career leader in interceptions with 51.
Art Monk: New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles
Art Monk may be one of the most under-appreciated wide receivers of all time.
Monk was the 18th overall selection in the 1980 NFL draft. Monk would be a solid contributor his first four seasons with the team, but not yet a star.
He appeared in two Super Bowls during this time; Super Bowl XVII, which the Redskins won 27-17 over Miami and Super Bowl XVIII, a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Raiders.
In his fifth season in 1984, Monk made the Pro Bowl. He set a Redskins single-season record with 106 catches (still standing today) and had 1372 yards and seven touchdowns.
He made the Pro Bowl in 1985 and 1986 as well. Monk surpassed 1000 yards in both seasons.
Monk only played in nine games in 1987, but the team went to the Super Bowl again. Monk caught one pass for 40 yards as the Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10.
Monk went over 1000 yards receiving two more times in 1989 and 1991. He caught eight touchdown passes in each season.
In that 1991 season, Monk played in his last Super Bowl. He caught seven passes for 113 yards in the Redskins 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.
Monk had a down year in 1992 and then fell off completely in 1993. He had 41 receptions for 398 yards and two touchdowns, but he failed to crack 10 yards a catch for the first time in his career.
The Jets signed Monk for the 1994 season. He had 46 receptions for 581 yards and three touchdowns. The skills that had made him one of the NFL's best receivers were diminishing quickly.
He caught on with the Eagles in 1995. He appeared in three games and had one start. He caught six balls for 114 yards and for the first time in his career didn't have a touchdown catch.
Monk was out of football in 1996 and retired in 1997. At the time of his retirement his 940 were first all-time.
For the Redskins, Monk is first all-time in receptions with 888 and first in yards with 12026. He is second for the team all-time in receiving touchdowns with 65.
Bruce Smith: Washington Redskins
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Bruce Smith was one of the most dominant defensive ends to play the game of football.
The Buffalo Bills selected Bruce No. 1 overall in the 1985 NFL draft, and he wouldn't disappoint.
Smith could get to the quarterback. In his first season, he had 6.5 sacks and the Bills finished 2-14. They would have had the first pick in the draft again, but traded the pick so the Cleveland Browns could use it to select Bernie Kosar in the supplemental draft.
Buffalo improved slightly the following season to 4-12 and Smith had a monster 15-sack year.
In 1987, Smith made his first of four straight Pro Bowls and had 12 sacks on the year. The Bills improved to 7-9 and you could see the team was on the rise.
The team made two trips to the playoffs in 1988 and 1989 and Smith continued his tear with sack totals of 11 and 13.
Finally, in 1990, the Bills broke through and made the Super Bowl. Smith had 19 sacks on the season. The team lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, it would be the first of four Super Bowl losses Smith would see as a Bill.
Smith had a 15-year career in Buffalo and didn't go over 10 sacks just three times (his rookie season, 1991 when he appeared in only five games and his last season with the Bills). He was an 11-time Pro Bowler as a Bill.
His last season in Buffalo was in 1999. He only recorded seven sacks and the Bills felt it was time to move on and released their all-time sacks leader.
Smith was signed by the Washington Redskins as part of their veteran free agent splurge for the 2000 season (This article on curlyr.blogspot explains the situation pretty well).
Smith wasn't as bad as the other free agents the Redskins signed that year. He had 10 sacks in 2000 and would have nine sacks in 2002.
Smith played until his age-40 season in 2003. He recorded five sacks that season to give him an even 200 and enough to pass Reggie White as the all-time leader in sacks.
Smith was released by the Redskins after the season and retired from the game.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. His 171 sacks is first in the Bills' record books, the next closest person is almost 100 sacks behind (Aaron Schobel with 78).
Franco Harris: Seattle Seahawks
Franco Harris is probably best remembered for the Immaculate Reception, but he was more than just one lucky play.
Harris was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972 NFL draft. Harris made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and it would be his first of nine straight. He rushed for 1055 yards on 188 carries and had 10 rushing touchdowns. He also ran for a staggering 5.6 yards a carry.
In his third season, he topped 1000 yards rushing and the Steelers won their first Super Bowl (IX) by defeating the Minnesota Vikings 16-6. Harris was the game's MVP, rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries.
The Steelers would win Super Bowl X the following year against the Dallas Cowboys. Harris went over 1200 yards on the season and had 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Steelers won back-to-back Super Bowls again in the 1978 and 1979 seasons and Harris continued to cement his place in Steelers' history.
In 1980, '81 and '82, Harris didn't seem like the same back and the Steelers were no longer the dominant team they were in the 1970s.
The Steelers released Harris following the 1983 season after he rushed for 1000 yards for the first time since the 1970s. He only averaged 3.6 yards per carry and it seems the Steelers released him just in time.
Franco was signed by the Seattle Seahawks. He played in eight games in Seattle with only six starts. He rushed for a career-worst 170 yards on 68 carries and scored zero times for the first time in his career. It would be the last season he played.
Harris was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990. Also, he is still first all-time for the Steelers in attempts (2881), rushing yards (11950) and rushing touchdowns (91). Pretty impressive for a back that played for a team hellbent on running the ball.
Cris Carter: Miami Dolphins
It's a travesty that Cris Carter isn't in the Hall of Fame. With that out of the way, let's get to it.
Cris Carter was a supplemental draft selection in 1987 by the Philadelphia Eagles, but Carter wasn't long for the Eagles and almost threw away his career due to addiction and other off-the-field problems.
He didn't start his first year with the Eagles, but as a starter in his second season, he had 39 receptions for 761 yards and six touchdowns.
Carter caught 11 touchdowns in his third year and added 45 receptions for 605 yards. However, Carter was cut before the 1990 season began due to those aforementioned off-the-field issues.
Carter signed with the Vikings and turned his life around.
In 1991, his second season with the team, Carter caught 72 passes for 962 yards and five touchdowns.
Carter would really break out in his fourth year in Minnesota, when he caught 86 passes for 1071 yards and had nine touchdowns. Carter made his first of eight straight Pro Bowls that season.
In 1994 and 1995, Carter exploded and had back-to-back 122 catch seasons. He particularly went off in 1995 when he had over 1300 yards and 17 touchdown catches.
Carter had over 1000 yards receiving every year from 1993-2000. When the Vikings added Randy Moss, Carter and he were one of the best receiving duos of all-time.
They led the team to a 15-1 record in 1998, but lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Atlanta Falcons.
Carter stayed with the team until the 2001 season and caught 73 passes for 871 yards and six touchdowns that year. He left the team following that year.
He wouldn't sign with a team in 2002 until after the season started. He picked the Miami Dolphins and had one of the worst seasons of his career while battling injury. He played in five games with one start and had eight receptions for 66 yards and only one touchdown.
He retired following the season.
Carter is still first all-time with the Minnesota Vikings in receptions (1004), receiving yards (12383) and receiving touchdowns (110).
He is also fourth in NFL history in career receptions and career receiving touchdowns.
Thurman Thomas: Miami Dolphins
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When talking about the best running backs ever to play the game, Thurman Thomas just doesn't get the respect he deserves.
Thomas was the workhorse for the Buffalo Bills after he was selected in the second round out of Oklahoma State in the 1988 NFL draft.
He was instrumental in the Bills' run of four straight Super Bowl appearances (XXV-XXVIII), which I've previously mentioned were all losses for Buffalo.
Thomas rushed for 881 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season.
In his second year, Thomas made the first of five straight Pro Bowls. He had 298 carries for 1244 yards and six touchdowns. He led the league in yards from scrimmage with 1913, he would do so for the next four years.
He also rushed for eight straight 1000-yard seasons in Buffalo.
In 1991, Thomas rushed for 1407 yards on 288 carries for 4.9 yards a carry and had seven rushing touchdowns. He also added 62 receptions for 631 yards and five touchdowns. Thomas won the AP NFL MVP that year.
He followed that up with a similar season the following year with 312 carries for 1487 yards and nine touchdowns and added 58 receptions for 626 yards and three touchdowns.
In 1997, Thomas only carried the ball 154 times. It was the first time he had under 200 carries and didn't reach 1000 yards for the first time since his rookie season.
His numbers fell the next two seasons. In 1999, Thomas only had 152 yards while appearing in five and didn't have a rushing touchdown. The Bills released him following the season.
Thurman signed with a division rival, the Miami Dolphins, for the 2000 season. He rushed for a career-low 136 yards on 28 carries. He averaged 4.9 yards a carry in limited action, he also caught 16 passes for 117 and one touchdown.
Thomas was released after the season and signed a one-day contract with the Bills to retire as a member of the organization.
He is still No. 1 in the Buffalo record books in attempts with 2849, rushing yards with 11938 and rushing touchdowns with 65. Thomas was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Joe Montana: Kansas City Chiefs
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With all due respect to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning; Joe Montana was the greatest clutch quarterback of all time.
Montana was a third-round pick in 1979 by the San Francisco 49ers. He didn't start his rookie year but did become a starter halfway through the 1980 season. He would have his first comeback that year, but he only went 2-5 as starter.
In his first full year as a starter in 1981, Montana completed 63.7 percent of his passes, threw for 3565 yards and 19 touchdowns compared to 12 interceptions.
That season, he also led the 49ers to a Super Bowl win against the Cincinnati Bengals (XVI). Montana completed 14-of-22 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown to win Super Bowl MVP honors, his first of three.
Montana returned to the Super Bowl during the 1984 season. He helped lead the team to a 15-1 record that season. In the big game, he completed 24-of-35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns as the 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 38-16. Joe Cool won the Super Bowl MVP again.
He suffered a severe back injury during the 1986 season, but worked hard to return before the end of the season. He won comeback player of the year honors.
He followed that season with one of the best statistical season of his career completing 66.8 percent of his passes, throwing for 3054 yards and a career high 31 touchdowns.
Montana won back-to-back Super Bowls (XXIII, XXIV) with the 49ers for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. He won the Super Bowl MVP in 1989, when he threw for five touchdowns in a 55-10 slaughter of the Denver Broncos.
In 1990, Montana led the 49ers to a 14-2 record, but was injured in the NFC Championship Game loss to the New York Giants. The injury caused him to miss all of the 1991 season and he only saw action in one game in 1992.
During this time, Steve Young blossomed into a quality NFL starter and a quarterback controversy was on the verge of emerging with Montana's injury finally healed.
The 49ers decided to stick with the younger QB in Steve Young. The unthinkable happened and Montana was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1993 season.
In 1993, Montana made his eighth and final Pro Bowl, though he only threw for 2144 yards, 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while completing over 60 percent of his passes.
He led the Chiefs to an AFC West title and took the team all the way to the conference championship game but lost to the Buffalo Bills.
Montana had a solid season in 1994 and led the Chiefs to the playoffs again, but they were eliminated in the first round. He retired after the season though he was still playing at a high level.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000. Montana had 31 comeback wins in his career. He is also first in the Niners' record books in attempts (2929), completions (4600), passing yards (35124) and passing touchdowns (244).
Johnny Unitas: San Diego Chargers
Some view Johnny Unitas as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game; but it wasn't always an easy path for the man they'd call "The Golden Arm."
Unitas was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the ninth round in the 1955 draft. He was cut in training camp without getting much of an opportunity with the team.
He joined the Baltimore Colts in 1956 when he tagged along to a tryout with a friend. He started seven games and appeared in 12 after an injury to the starting quarterback. He threw for nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions and 1498 yards.
The following season Unitas became a Pro Bowler. He started all 12 games for the team and completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 2550 yards and 24 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions.
The team won the NFL Championship in 1958 and Unitas completed 26-of-40 passes for 349 yards and one touchdown and one interception in the championship game.
In 1959, Unitas won the first of three MVP awards. He completed 52.6 percent of his passes and threw for 2899 yards and 32 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions. He also led his team to another NFL Championship that year.
Unitas would continue his solid play for years, but he was injured in 1968 and the Colts made it to Super Bowl III without him. The Colts ended up losing to the New York Jets and Unitas' replacement Earl Morrall missed several big throws in the game.
The Colts would get to another Super Bowl (V) during the 1970 season. The Colts squared off against the Dallas Cowboys and won 16-13. Oddly, a Cowboy won the Super Bowl MVP for the game.
Unitas struggled in 1971 and 1972 and the Colts were ready to move on. After the 1972 season, Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers.
Unitas played in five games with the Chargers, starting four. He struggles continued, as he completed only 44.7 percent of his passes for 471 yards and threw three touchdowns to seven interceptions. He retired after the season.
Unitas retired the Colts all-time leader in attempts (2796), completions (5110), passing yards (39768) and passing touchdowns (287), but has since been passed by some guy named Peyton.
Johnny U. was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1979.
O.J. Simpson: San Francisco 49ers
Before the "Naked Gun" movies, before the murder trial, before the media circus and before his downfall, O.J. Simpson was one heck of a football player.
Simpson was the 1968 Heisman Trophy winner and was drafted first in the 1969 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills.
The Juice didn't set the world on fire to start his career, but still made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season when he only had 181 attempts for 697 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 30 receptions for 343 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
Simpson wouldn't reach 200 carries in any of his first three seasons.
Simpson finally became a workhorse back in 1972. He rushed 292 times for a league-leading 1251 yards and added six touchdowns. He again made the Pro Bowl, the beginning of five straight for Simpson.
In 1973, Simpson had a historic season. He rushed 332 times for over 2000 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. He accomplished the feat in only 14 games and won the league's MVP award.
The next season, Simpson made the playoffs with the Bills. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers; it'd be the only time the Bills would make the playoffs while Simpson was on the roster.
Simpson had another monster season in 1975. He rushed 329 times for 1817 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He also caught seven touchdowns that year.
In 1976, Simpson rushed for over 1500 yards. It'd be the last time he went over 1000.
Simpson didn't play the entire 1977 season due to injury. When he was healthy, he rushed 126 times for 557 yards and didn't record a single touchdown. The Bills decided to trade Simpson and move on from the former No. 1 overall pick.
San Francisco traded a plethora of draft picks for O.J., and he wouldn't average even 4.0 yards a carry with the team. In two seasons, he rushed 281 times for 1053 yards and four touchdowns.
The Juice had clearly left O.J. and he retired after the 1979 season. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1985 and his career numbers of 2123 carries, 10183 yards and 57 touchdowns are all second in the Bills' record book.
Emmitt Smith: Arizona Cardinals
Emmitt Smith is one of the greatest running backs ever to play the game and he wasn't even the first running back taken in the 1990 NFL draft.
Smith was drafted 17th overall by the Dallas Cowboys; the New York Jets took running back Blair Thomas second overall. Yeah, I know, who?
He made six straight Pro Bowls to start his career. He rushed for 937 yards on 241 carries and had 11 rushing touchdowns.
In 1992 during his third season, Smith rushed for over 1700 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns.
The Cowboys went on to win Super Bowl XXVII that season and Smith would rush for 108 yards and one touchdown in the game. It'd be the first of three championships for the Boys.
Smith won the AP NFL MVP in 1993 when he rushed 283 times for 1486 yards and nine touchdowns. He also added 57 receptions for 414 yards and one touchdown. Dallas won another Super Bowl that season, Smith won MVP honors in the game rushing 30 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
In 1995, the Cowboys won their final Super Bowl with Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. Emmitt had a monster season that year setting career highs in attempts (377), rushing yards (1773), rushing touchdowns (25) and receptions (62).
Smith would shows signs of wear and tear in 1996 and 1997. In 1996 he averaged just 3.9 yards a carry and in 1997 he had only four rushing touchdowns.
He followed that up with his final two Pro Bowl seasons in 1998 and 1999. In both seasons, he carried the ball over 300 times, rushed for over 1300 yards and had 10+ touchdowns.
His yards per carry were under 4.0 and his rushing totals dropped below 1000 yards over his last three seasons with the.Cowboys.
Smith and the Cowboys parted ways at the end of the 2002 season. The Arizona Cardinals jumped at the chance to bring the NFL's all-time leading rusher on board.
However, he had a disastrous first season with the Cardinals. He saw action in 10 games, starting five and only rushed for 256 yards and two touchdowns on 90 carries. He played one more year in Arizona and had a respectable 267 carries for 937 yards and nine touchdowns.
Smith retired after the season. He is still the NFL's leader in rushing attempts (4409), rushing yards (18355) and rushing touchdowns (164). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Joe Namath: Los Angeles Rams
Broadway Joe had a big influence on making the NFL what it is today.
Namath was the 12th overall pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1965 NFL Draft. However, Namath decided to sign with the New York Jets of the AFL. The Alabama star was a huge get for the AFL.
Namath made the AFL All-Star team his first season though he only started nine games. He threw completed 164-of-340 passes, threw for 2220 yards and 18 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions. It'd the first of two times in his career he had more touchdowns than interceptions.
He followed that season up by completing 232-of-471 passes for a league-leading 3379 yards. He threw 19 touchdowns to a whopping 27 interceptions.
In 1967, Namath became the first quarterback to pass for 4000 yards in a season. He made the All Stars again and threw for 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.
The following season, 1968, Namath cemented his place in the annals of history. Namath led the Jets to an 11-3 record and a trip to the playoffs.
In the playoffs, the Jets defeated the Oakland Raiders in the conference championship, 27-23 to move on to Super Bowl III.
Before the game, Namath guaranteed a victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Namath backed up his talk and the Jets won 16-7, it was the first win for the AFL in the Super Bowl. He also won game MVP honors completing 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards.
The importance of the win has been debated over time. Some say that the win had a small effect on the AFL teams getting more respect, and some say that it was one of the single most important games in NFL history.
Namath was once again an All-Star and led the the Jets to a 10-4 record. The team was eliminated by the Chiefs. The 1968-69 seasons were the only time Namath led the Jets to the playoffs.
He battled injuries in 1970, 1971 and 1973 but in between (1972) made his first Pro Bowl and last "all star" game of any kind.
Namath struggled in 1975 and 1976 and his bad knees were catching up to him fast. In '75, he threw for 2286 yards, 15 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. The team went 3-11 that season.
In 1976, he didn't do much better. The team went 3-11 again and Namath was 1-7 as a starter. He threw for 1090 yards and a career low four touchdowns while throwing 16 picks.
The Jets waived Namath after 1976 and he signed with the Los Angeles Rams. He played one season and started four games. He threw completed a career low 46.7 percent of his passes for 606 yards, three touchdowns and five picks. He retired following the season.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. He is still the Jets' all-time leader in attempts (3655), passing yards (27057), passing touchdowns (170) and—interceptions (215).
Reggie White: Carolina Panthers
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The Minister of Defense, in my opinion, was the greatest player ever at getting to the quarterback.
Reggie White was a star at Tennessee. After college, he chose to sign with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL.
The USFL folded after White played two seasons in the league. He would move on to the NFL and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the supplemental draft.
White started 12 games in his rookie season in 1985. He recorded 13 sacks and the team finished 7-9.
The next season in 1986, he made his first Pro Bowl and had 18 sacks. Philly still finished with a 5-10-1 record, but White was flashing the skills that made him a Hall of Famer. It was the first of 13 straight appearances in the game for White.
In 1987, he set a career high in sacks with 21. The following season, he had 18 sacks and White and Eagles made the playoffs, but they lost to the Chicago Bears in the division round 20-12.
The Eagles made the playoffs in 1989, 1990 and 1992. He never had a season with the team where he had under 10 sacks. The 1992 season was his last with the team.
He is still the Eagles all-time leader in sacks with 124.
He was signed by the Green Bay Packers in one of the most high-profile signings in NFL history.
In his first season with the team, he had 13 sacks. The team made the playoffs and defeated the Detroit Lions in the wild card round before being eliminated by the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1994, White had eight sacks on the season, the Packers beat the Lions in the playoffs and then were eliminated by the Cowboys. In 1995, the Packers were again eliminated by the Cowboys but this time in the NFC Championship Game.
The Packers finally broke through in 1996 and won Super Bowl XXXI over the New England Patriots. White showed his determination to win a ring and had three sacks in the game, on the way to a 35-21 victory.
White played two more seasons and had sack totals of 11 and 16. White retired at the end of the 1998 season as the Packers' all-time leader in sacks with 68.5 (he has since been passed by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila).
He decided to come out of retirement in 2000 and played for the Carolina Panthers. White had 5.5 sacks and the team finished 7-9 missing the playoffs. He retired for good after the season.
White is second all-time with 198 sacks behind only Bruce Smith. Sadly, White passed away in 2004 (SI.com explains his death). White was inducted to the Hall of Fame posthumously in 2006.
Brett Favre: New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings
Even after everything that has happened with Brett Favre, my mind still sees him as a Green Bay Packer.
Favre was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons. He didn't get much playing time in his rookie season and was traded for a first-round pick to the Green Bay Packers at the behest of GM Ron Wolf.
Favre made the Pro Bowl his first two years as the Packers' starter in 1992 and 1993. He would throw 18 touchdown and 12 interceptions his first season and then Favre showed his gunslinger side and threw for 19 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
He missed the Pro Bowl in 1994, but threw for 3882 yards, 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
From 1995-1997, Favre won three straight AP NFL MVP awards, made three straight Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl.
Favre played at a high level with the Packers until 2007, sometimes trusting his arm too much and other times exceeding everyone's expectations. Favre lost the NFC Championship Game in 2007 and a untimely pick cost the Packers the game. He retired after the season.
I'm not going to get into the he-said, he-said drama of Favre leaving the Packers. The end result was Favre retired but wasn't ready, he decided to come back but the Pack wanted to start the Aaron Rodgers era and Favre was traded to the New York Jets.
Favre played fantastic in his first 11 games with the Jets and the team had an 8-3 record. Unfortunately, he injured his arm and wasn't the same quarterback down the stretch and the team finished 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs. Favre still made the Pro Bowl.
He retired after the season, but again switched course. The Jets released Favre from their reserve/retired list and he go to sign with the team he wanted all along—the Minnesota Vikings.
He energized the Vikings to a playoff appearance and 12-4 record. He again made the Pro Bowl and had a career year completing 68.4 percent of his passes while throwing for 4202 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Favre made it to the NFC Championship Game again and another costly turnover doomed the Vikings in a loss to the Saints. He returned for another season with the Vikings, but injuries caught up to the 41-year-old quarterback and he finished with his lowest QB rating as a starter at 69.9.
The team limped to a 6-10 record and head coach Brad Childress was fired. Favre seemed to call it quits for good after the season—for now.
Favre will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He finished his career as the all-time leader in completions with 6300, attempts with 10169, passing yards with 71838, passing touchdowns with 508 and interceptions with 336.
Jerry Rice: Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos
Many consider Jerry Rice the single greatest player ever to play the game of football.
After 99 slides of players, I'm going to start Rice's slide differently and list his accolades first.
He is first all-time in touchdowns with 208, receptions with 1549, receiving yards with 22895 and receiving touchdowns with 197. He was a 13-time Pro Bowler, three time Super Bowl champion and one-time Super Bowl MVP.
Needless to say, he is first in all the aforementioned categories with the San Francisco 49ers.
He was a Division I-AA product out of Mississippi Valley State and was the 15th overall selection by the 49ers in the 1985 NFL draft.
He led the league in receiving and receiving touchdowns his second season. He caught 86 passes for 1570 yards and 15 touchdowns and made his first of 11 straight Pro Bowls with the Niners.
In 1988, he caught 22 touchdown passes in only 12 games. The following season, the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals. San Fran won a thrilling contest 20-16. Rice won Super Bowl MVP honors by catching 11 passes for 215 yards and one touchdown.
The team won Super Bowl XXIV for the 1989 season as well. During that season Rice had 82 receptions for 1483 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also exploded in the Super Bowl with seven receptions for 149 yards and three touchdowns as the 49ers clobbered the Denver Broncos 55-10.
In 1990, Rice had his first of four 100 reception seasons. He also added 1502 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He stayed a top wide receiver in the league and in 1994 the team won another world championship. They defeated the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX 49-26. In the game Rice had 10 receptions for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
My most memorable Rice moment didn't come from the championship years. In 1997, he tore his ACL and worked his way back to return in Week 16. He caught a touchdown pass in the game and injured his left knee cap and wouldn't be able to play again that season.
The 49ers cut Rice after the 2000 season and he would sign with the Oakland Raiders. He had back to back 1000-yard seasons in his first two seasons with the team. He even made his 13th and final Pro Bowl in 2002.
That season the Raiders also went to the Super Bowl, but Rice wouldn't get a fourth ring and the Raiders would lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Oakland had a down year in 2003 and Rice did too. He had 63 receptions for 869 and two touchdowns. The team would then trade Rice to the Seattle Seahawks during the 2004 season.
He caught 25 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with the Seahawks. The team would make the playoffs but would be eliminated in the first round, and Rice failed to make an impact.
He was released after the season and signed with the Broncos for the 2005 season. However, Rice was buried on the depth chart and decided to call it a career instead.
He did sign a ceremonial contract with the 49ers, so at least in spirit he rightfully retired as a Niner.