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Best Players To Wear Every Number

Part 9: Numbers 80-89

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 ninth part of a ten part series, The Pug tells you who the best players in NFL history to wear jersey numbers 80-89 were(or are).

If you missed the first eight parts, click the links below to see 0-79

0-9            10-19            20-29            30-39            40-49            50-59            60-69           70-79

#80: Jerry Rice, Wide Receiver: No doubter here at number 80. Jerry Rice is the best receiver of all time, and his numbers back him up. The San Francisco 49ers traded their first two pick to move up in the draft to nab Jerry Rice who was being strongly sought after by the Dallas Cowboys. Rice won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1985, and after that all he did was go on to lead the NFL record books in receptions(1,549), receiving yards(22,895), touchdowns(197), and all-purpose yards(23,546) in his career. Rice also played for the Seahawks and Raiders. He was honored with 13 Pro Bowl selections, named to 10 first-team All-Pro selections, two NFL Offensive Players of the Year Awards, a MVP season and won the Super Bowl XXIII MVP award. Jerry was forever inscribed in history when elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, his first year of eligibility. Oh yeah he also won three Super Bowls and had his number 80 retired with the 49ers. Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the best football player of all-time. Honorable Mention: Steve Largent 

#81:Terrell Owens, Wide Receiver: An insane amount of quality players have worn the number 81, and picking just one of them was the hardest decision in this series. This may not be the most popular pick due to his diva like attitude that ruffled a few feathers throughout his career, but it’s hard to argue with his numbers. ‘T.O.’ as he was commonly referred to, played for five different teams during his career(49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals) and seemed to stir up controversy wherever he went. Whether it was an issue with coaches or teammates, although he himself proved to be a distraction from time to time, he never let his talking get in the way of his production. The former third round pick was also known for his controversial end zone celebrations, including mocking the Dallas star as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, which stared a scuffle on the field. Owens broke the thousand yard receiving mark an incredable nine times over the course of his career. The five-time Pro Bowler ended his career with 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns in a career that might not see him make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot due to his attitude, although his numbers are certainly worthy. Honorable Mention: Carl Eller and Tim Brown

#82: Jimmy Smith, Wide Receiver: Unlike it’s predecessor, Jimmy Smith runs away with number 82. Smith had a rough start to his career after being taken in round two of the 1992 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He broke his leg during a training camp scrimmage and only came back to play in seven games on special teams without notching a reception.  He then missed the next season because of a infection from surgery that nearly cost him his life. After being cut by the Cowboys for refusing to take a pay cut, he was signed and cut by the Eagles before finally signing with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. Smith’s first year with the team was as the team’s fifth receiver, but then he went on to become the Jag’s all-time leader in 11 statistical categories including receptions(862), receiving yards(12,287), and touchdowns(69). After a rough post-retirement that included two arrest for drugs and weapons charges, Smith will be inducted this year into the Pride of the Jaguars. Honorable Mention: John Stallworth and Jason Witten

#83: Ted Hendricks, Linebacker: Another tough decision here at 83, as Hendricks edges out a Hall of Fame receiver. Hendricks was selected in the second round of the 1969 NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts. ‘The Mad Stork’ as he was also known was originally drafted to play defensive end before switching to linebacker before the start of his rookie campaign. Often a member of some great defenses, Hendricks can flash the bling with the best of them as he is a four time Super Bowl champion, three with the Raiders and one with the Colts(he also played for the Packers). He had an impressive career that featured 60.5 sacks(unofficial), 26 interceptions and 4 safeties before retiring following the 1983  season . The most impressive stat of Ted Hendricks Hall of Fame career (inducted in 1990) is that he blocked an amazing 25 kicks during the course of his career. Hendricks made the Pro Bowl eight times, and the award for the best defensive lineman in college football is named after him; the Ted Hendricks award. Honorable Mention: Andre Reed

#84: Randy Moss, Wide Receiver: After getting the shun at 81 since he only wore that number with the Patriots, he had to make the list at 84 even though he also wore 18. Moss wasted no time becoming a household name as he had arguably the best rookie season by a receiver in the history of the league, finishing with 69 receptions, 1,313 yards, and 17 touchdowns. After the Dallas Cowboys passed on him after saying they would draft him in the 1998 draft, he burned them for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Randy holds the NFL record for touchdowns in a season when he found pay-dirt 23 times in 2007. The future Hall of Fame candidate enjoyed monster career numbers by the tune of 982 receptions, 15,292 yards, and 156 touchdowns before calling it a career following the 2012 season. Honorable Mention: Gary Clark

#85: Jack Youngblood, Defensive End: Usually when you are thinking numbers in the 80’s, automatically the brain assumes wide receiver, but number 85 is run by the defense. Youngblood was the first round pick in the 1971 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams where he spent his entire 14 year career. He was dubbed the ‘John Wayne of football’ after playing the entire 1979 playoffs with a broken left fibula. Youngblood appeared in seven Pro Bowls (including playing in one with the broken fibula), was selected to five first-team All-Pro teams, and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award twice. Although the stat was unofficial for most of his career, Jack accumulated 151.5 sacks in 202 games.   His number 85 was retired by the Rams and he is a member of the Rams Ring of Fame. Youngblood was forever etched in history after he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Honorable Mention: Nick Buoniconti

#86: Hines Ward, Wide Receiver: The Pittsburgh Steelers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions, Hines Ward was known for his play and his reputation. Ward was a physical receiver with great hands who was also a fantastic run blocker. Problem is he was voted twice by his peers in a poll by Sports Illustrated to be the dirtiest player in the game, mostly because he was notorious for making blindside blocks that were vicious. His play prompted the NFL to make rules where blindside blocks occurs high on the opposing player or the “Hines Ward Rule” for short. Ward will no doubt wind up in the Hall of Fame one day after being one of 13 players to record 1,000 or more receptions in their careers(Ward had exactly 1,000).Ward retired after the 2011 season with 12,083 receiving yards and ironically 86 total touchdowns. Honorable Mention: Buck Buchanan

#87: Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver: When the Colts took Reggie Wayne towards the end of the first round in the 2001 NFL draft, they were looking to produce a formidable 1-2 combo at wide receiver with Marvin Harrison. They got more than they could have ever hoped for. Wayne become an integral part of the Colts passing attack breaking the thousand yard mark eight times in his 14 year career, including seven in a row. Reggie Wayne signed a one year deal with the Patriots in 2015, but then asked for his release from the team. No one else signed him and he retired following the 2015 season with 1,071 receptions, 14,345 yards, and 82 touchdowns on his resume. Honorable Mention: Willie Davis

#88: Tony Gonzalez, Tight End: Some serious competition at number 88, but can’t go wrong with the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns by a tight end. Gonzalez was drafted in the first round of the 1997 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs where he played for 12 seasons before spending the final five seasons of his career in Atlanta. Even with 1,325 receptions, 15,127, and 111 career touchdowns, one of the most remarkable stats is that he only fumbled one time in his entire career. He will undoubtedly be inducted in the Hall of Fame after appearing in 14 pro bowls and being named to the first-team All-Pro squad six times. Gonzalez is arguably the greatest tight end to ever play the game. Honorable Mention: Marvin Harrison and Allen Page

#89: Steve Smith, Wide Receiver: The first appearance on the list by a current player since number 23(look it up), Smith  was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2001 NFL draft. Steve found success early in his career on special team scoring seven times in his first three seasons. Smith has eight seasons where he has broken the 1,000 yard mark, and is the Panthers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. So far he has had 961 receptions for 13,932 yards and scored 76 touchdowns. Smith currently plays for the Baltimore Ravens and is looking to bounce back after rupturing his Achilles tendon during the season he said would be his last. Steve Smith is known for his competitiveness and intensity, which is why he decided to play this season after lat season was cut short for him. Honorable Mention: Dave Robinson

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