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Best Players To Wear Every Number

Part 6: Numbers 50-59

The Pug (Anthony Pugliese) takes a look at the best players in NFL history to wear every number from 0(00) up to 99. In the sixth part of a ten part series, The Pug tells you who the best players in NFL history to wear jersey numbers 50-59 were(or are).

If you missed the first five parts, click the links below to see 0-49

 0-9                10-19                20-29                30-39                40-49

#50: Mike Singletary, Linebacker: Not even a competition here at number 50 as Singletary easily takes it. ‘Samurai Mike’ as he became known for his intense focus on the field, had an amazing 12 year career and was a cornerstone for the amazing defenses for the Chicago Bears in the 80’s. Singletary was also extremely durable, only missing 2 games over the course of his career. Mike’s career accomplishments include 10 Pro Bowls, eight All-Pro teams, two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, a Super Bowl victory, and a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1998. Singletary retired with 1,488 career tackles, seven interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. After coaching the San Francisco 49ers after retirement, Singletary is currently a defensive advisor for the Los Angeles Rams. Honorable Mention: Jeff Siemon

#51: Sam Mills, Linebacker: Plenty of people are going to disagree, as he beat out a Hall of Famer,but talk about a guy who beat the odds. After being a stand out football player in high school, no college teams were interested in Mills because he was only 5’9″. After making the team at Montclair State College as a walk-on, he set school records for the most tackles in a game, season, and career. After getting no interest from NFL scouts again because of his size, Mills played for three years in the USFL and was arguably one of the best players in the history of the USFL. Mills got his chance in the NFL after his USFL coach Jim Mora took over as the New Orleans Saints head coach and brought Mills along as an important member of the ‘Dome Patrol’. Mora said Mills was the best player he ever coached. Sam played for both the Saints and the Carolina Panthers, retiring a member of both the Saints Hall of Fame and being the first Panther player to have his jersey number retired. Mills finished his career with 1,319 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and 11 interceptions. He sadly died of intestinal cancer in 2005 at the age of 45. Honorable Mention: Dick Butkus

#52: Ray Lewis, Linebacker: Another runaway winner, Lewis is the best player to sport the number 52 because of a fabulous 17 year career with the Baltimore Ravens. Considered by many to be one of the greatest linebackers to step on an NFL field, Lewis made an astonishing 13 Pro Bowls and 10 All-Pro Teams. Lewis earned Super Bowl XXXV MVP honors in 2000 as a key member of a defensive unit that is arguably the best defense of all time. Ray was a two time Defensive Player of the Year, and was the first player in NFL history to record at least 40 sacks and 30 interceptions in his career. Lewis retired after winning Super Bowl XLVII with 2,061 tackles, 41.5 sacks, and 31 interceptions. Ray will most likely make the trip to Canton next year in his first year of eligibility. He is currently an NFL contributor for ESPN. Honorable Mention: Mike Webster

#53: Mick Tingelhoff, Center: Mick signed with the Minnesota Vikings after going undrafted in the 1962 NFL draft. He protected the quarterback for the Vikings for 17 years without missing a single game. He currently ranks second in NFL history for games played in a row at 259 including the playoffs. Tingelhoff was a starter for all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances in the 1970’s. During the course of his career, Tingelhoff was a Pro Bowler six times, a AP First Team All-Pro member five times, and had his number 53 retired by the Vikings. In his 32nd year of eligibility, he finally became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Honorable Mention: Harry Carson

#54: Randy White, Defensive Tackle: By far the hardest number to pick a winner for this week, White edges out our honorable mention. White played his entire 14 year career for the Dallas Cowboys and was a starter for them for 11 seasons. Originally drafted to be a linebacker in the NFL, White made the change to defensive tackle in his third season and flourished there. White made nine Pro Bowl and nine First Team All-Pro appearances, was a Super Bowl MVP, and is a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. The Manster (Half man half monster) as he became to be known finished his career with 1,104 tackles and 111 sacks earning him a spot in Canton, Ohio in 1994. Honorable Mention: Brian Urlacher

#55: Derrick Brooks, Linebacker: Finally a Buccaneer makes it onto the list and complaints from the Scrum staff can stop! In all seriousness, Brooks may be one of the best players to put on a Buccaneer jersey, nevermind the number 55. Brooks played for the Bucs his entire 14 year career, and only twice didn’t record at least 100 tackles (his rookie year and last year). Derrick has earned 11 Pro Bowl bids, nine All-Pro nods, and a NFL Defensive Player of the Year award en route to having the number 55 retired by the Bucs. After retiring with 1,698 tackles, 25 interceptions, 24 forced fumbles, 13.5 sacks and seven defensive touchdowns, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, his first year of eligibility. Brooks is currently the co-owner of the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football team. Honorable Mention: Junior Seau

#56: Lawrence Taylor, Linebacker: Although he saw his fair share of controversy over his career(mostly from drugs), there was no denying that Lawrence Taylor was one of the toughest players to ever put on a uniform. Drafted with the number two overall selection in the 1981 draft, Taylor wasted no time proving to the league he was a force to be reckoned with by winning Rookie of the Year honors and also the Defensive Player of the Year award, the only rookie to accomplish such a feat in NFL history. In 1986 Taylor would not only win the Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time, but was named league MVP as well after recording 20.5 sacks that season. Taylor was a big part of the success of Bill Parcells and two Super Bowl victories by the Giants during his playing career (XXI and XXV). Taylor won 10 consecutive First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections from 1981-1990 and the Giants retired the number 56 for his efforts. After a few off seasons due to injury, an emotional Taylor retired with 1,088 tackles, 142 sacks, 33 forced fumbles and nine interceptions which earned him a seat in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.Honorable Mention: Chris Doleman

#57: Rickey Jackson, Linebacker: The second member of the infamous ‘Dome Patrol’ to make the list, Jackson enjoyed a successful 15 year career, 13 of which were with the New Orleans Saints. An iron man, Jackson only missed two games over the course of his career due to a car accident. Jackson did win a Super Bowl late in his career, with the San Francisco 49ers, a team he played for the final two years of his career. Jackson went to six Pro Bowls and was a member of the AP First Team All-Pro squad four times. His 1,180 tackles, 136 sacks, 40 forced fumbles,39 fumble recoveries, and eight interceptions earned him an invite to the Hall of Fame in 2010. Honorable Mention: Clay Matthews 

#58: Jack Lambert, Linebacker: An extremely difficult decision between two amazing linebackers, hard to vote against a staple of a defense considered by many to be the best ever. Lambert and his missing front teeth became a picture that defined toughness. After being drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he proved to be the missing piece for the Steelers after he won the Rookie of the Year award and the Steelers would win Super Bowl IX, the first of four during his career. Lambert made seven First Team All-Pro squads, nine Pro Bowls, and won the 1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Although never officially retired, Lambert instructed the equipment manager to never issue his number again, and after a literal fight in the parking lot, the instruction has been followed.  Lambert retired with 1,479 tackles, 28 interceptions, and 23.5 sacks and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990. Honorable Mention: Derrick Thomas

#59: Jack Ham, Linebacker: Two straight Steelers linebackers to close out this weeks list. Ham made eight Pro Bowls and six First Team All-Pro appearances over the course of his 12 year career in the NFL, all with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was actually voted by a group of writers to be the greatest outside linebacker to ever play the game, beating out Lawrence Taylor. Ham was a guy who could lay a huge hit, but could also play against the pass like a safety. He recorded 53 takeaways over the course of his career which is an NFL record. Ham made the Hall of Fame in 1988 and his number 59 jersey is no longer issued by the Steelers. Ham currently serves as color analyst for the Penn State Radio network. Honorable Mention: London Fletcher

 

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