Tackle This: Who are the Greatest Chargers Ever?

Fletcher KellyContributor IJuly 5, 2009

18 Oct 1998:  Running back Natrone Means #20 of the San Diego Chargers in action during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Eagles 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport

I made a list of who I thought was the greatest players to ever wear a Charger jersey. These are the players that helped the Chargers to where they are now.

Dan Fouts - John Hadl - Philip Rivers

Fouts is the obvious number one QB, a first-ballot Pro Football hall-of-famer. Hadl was the Chargers' all-time leader in many passing categories until Fouts obliterated the record book. And Rivers has the been the QB for three consecutive division-winning teams and has a very bright future with the organization.

Running Backs

Keith Lincoln - Paul Lowe - Natrone Means - Chuck Muncie - LaDainian Tomlinson

Running back is probably the hardest position to organize. Tomlinson needs no explanation. Lowe was the franchise's all-time leading rusher before LT, a mark that stood since the 1960s. Lincoln and Lowe teamed up in many of those AFL championship games and were All-Stars several times. Chuck Muncie was a huge part of the record-setting Air Coryell offense in the early 1980s. The Last one was hard; Marion Butts and Natrone Means were very similar. I'm going with Means because of his bulldozer mentality. He was also a part of the Super Bowl team.

Wide Receivers

Lance Alworth - Wes Chandler - Gary Garrison - John Jefferson - Charlie Joiner

This was another group that could go many different ways. Alworth is as easy for WR as Fouts at QB. Charlie Joiner had an amazing career and retired as the NFL's all-time leading receiver. Jefferson was probably the most popular wide out besides Alworth. Chandler took Jefferson's spot on the field after J.J. was dealt away. Garrison was a longtime wide-out who took the place of Alworth, and finished right behind "Bambi" in many Chargers statistical categories by the time he retired.

Tight Ends

Antonio Gates - Kellen Winslow

No explanation needed for these two picks.

Offensive Tackles

Ron Mix - Russ Washington - Ernie Wright

Mix is a member of the Hall of Fame. Washington was a Pro Bowl selection several times. Wright gets my nod on long service and a handful of All-Star honors. In a few years, McNeill could be in this position.


Walt Sweeney - Ed White - Doug Wilkerson

Sweeney is probably the most decorated Chargers lineman besides Mix, garnering several All-Star bids and Pro Bowls. White was a Pro Bowl beast and played for the Chargers throughout the Air Coryell era. Wilkerson had a lengthy career and was honored by going to the Pro Bowl three times.


Nick Hardwick - Don Macek

Hardwick was in my mind, clearly the better center; a current Charger and one-time Pro Bowler, Hardwick is still hard at work with the Chargers. Macek, who had a long career mostly as Fouts' center, wasn't all that bad either.

Defensive Ends

Fred Dean - Earl Faison - Leslie O'Neal

Dean is a hall-of-famer. Faison was a perennial All-Star on the great '60s teams, and O'Neal made six Pro Bowls on his way to being the Chargers all-time sack leader. Though, Merriman is on his way to that title.

Defensive Tackles

Gary Johnson - Ernie Ladd - Jamal Williams

"Big Hands" Johnson, a four-time Pro Bowler, was a lone bright spot on a porous defense during the Coryell years. Ladd was an All-Star on many of the great Sid Gillman teams. Williams has made three Pro Bowls thus far as a Charger. He is a very large force that takes up the middle.


Chuck Allen - Frank Buncom - Shawne Merriman - Junior Seau - Billy Ray Smith

All five LB's have All-Star or All-Pro honors, highlighted by future hall-of-famer Seau. If Merriman continues his career the way it's going, he will definitely be in the Hall of Fame.


Rolf Benirschke - John Carney

Carney is the all-time leading scorer in franchise history. Although Kaeding has been a more accurate kicker, I'm taking Benirschke because of what he overcame to play.

Kick Returners

Speedy Duncan - Darren Sproles

I'm going with someone old and new. Speedy Duncan's name says it all. Darren Sproles is an electrifying player, who when lives up to his potential, can be an elite player.


Darren Bennett - Mike Scifres

Bennett was on the All-Decade Team for the 1990s, and today, Scifres is arguably the best punter in the NFL.

Special Teamers

David Binn - Kassim Osgood

Hard to break down special teamers, as each player had different contributions. Taking Binn for very long service, and Osgood for two Pro Bowl. Kassim still has some years left in him to add to his career.


Don Coryell - Sid Gillman

Two coaches that revolutionized the game of football. Gillman is a hall-of-famer, and Coryell should be. Sorry Marty, there isn't any room for choke artists.


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