Athlete Number 63 - Gene Upshaw

The best athlete to wear jersey number 63 is Gene Upshaw of Oakland Raider fame. Upshaw played his entire career from 1967 through 1981 wearing a Raiders jersey. He was a first round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders' and was a six-time Pro-Bowler. As an offensive lineman, he was a stalwart of the Raiders' championship teams, playing a position without glamor. A 1987 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Upshaw was ranked number 62 on the Sporting News 1999 list of the NFL's 100 Greatest Players.

Did you know.....Upshaw is the only player to play in three Super Bowls for the same team in three different decades?

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Athlete Number 62 - Jim Langer

The best athlete to wear the jersey number 62 is the offensive center for the Miami Dolphins 1972 perfect season team, Jim Langer. Langer, who played for the Fins from 1970 through 1979 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He's a six-time Pro-Bowler and a member of the NFL's 1970's All-Decade Team. One of the testaments to Jim Langer's durability was the fact that he played in 141 consecutive games over eight seasons. Langer also played two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings in 1980 and 1981.

Did you know...."The Jim Langer Award is presented to the nation's top Division II lineman each year in his honor?" (wikipedia) (photo courtesy

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Athlete Number 61 - Bill George

Though you may be familiar with the great Chicago Bear linebackers Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus, you may not be familiar with the first great middle linebacker for the Bears. Bill George was the first start at the middle linebacker position, not only for the Bears, but for the NFL. He is also the best NFL athlete to wear the jersey number 61.

He was selected with the 23rd overall pick by the Bears in the 1951 NFL draft out of Wake Forest. Bill was an eight time consecutive Pro Bowler (1954 to 1961). He started his career as middle defensive guard, but then switched to middle linebacker, becoming the first great one at that position.

He played with the Bears between the years of 1952 to 1965, and with the Rams in 1966. He is a member of the 1950s All-Decade team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.

Did you know.......The Sporting News named Bill George number 49 on it's 1999 list of the NFL's 100 greatest players?

Additional Considerations: Curley Culp, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers

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Athlete Number 60 - Chuck Bednarik

In a photo finish, Chuck Bednarik beats out Otto Graham, as the best athlete to wear the number 60. The last great two-way player in the NFL, Chuck Bednarik's number 60 has been retired by the Philadelphia Eagles (one of only seven retired numbers by that franchise,) where he played his entire NFL career from 1949 through 1962. He played both offensively as a center and defensively as a linebacker for the Eagles. The 1949 first round draft pick, originally from Bethlehem, PA, was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Bednarik was as tough as they come, playing sixty minutes a game and missing only three games in fourteen years. In 1999, The Sporting News named Chuck number 54 on it's list of the Top 100 Greatest Football Players. Chuck was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1967.

Did you know.......Chuck sold concrete for the Warner Company in the off-season, and was nicknamed "Concrete Charlie?"

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Athlete Number 59 - Jack Ham

Jack Lambert's teammate, who helped lead the "Steel Curtain" defense to four Super Bowl championships, Jack Ham is the best athlete to wear number 59. Ham played for Penn State prior to being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is now doing broadcast for Westwood One. During his playing days, he was a seven-time All-Pro in twelve seasons for the Steelers. The 1988 NFL Hall of Fame inductee was a key member of the Steelers' dynasty in the 1970s. As a linebacker, Ham racked up 25 sacks, 32 interceptions, and 21 fumbles recovered. Sporting News ranked Jack Ham number 47 in it's list of the 100 greatest football players ever in 1999.

Did you know.......Pittsburgh's Slovak fans called Jack Ham "Dobre Shunka" (Great Ham)?

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Athlete Number 58 - Jack Lambert

One of the best linebackers ever, Jack Lambert, is the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 58. If you just say the word linebacker, I'd say that a large amount of people would have this man's name flash in their minds. He was the prototypical linebacker. An integral member of the famed "Steel Curtain" defense, he set the standard for a tough, agressive, competitive football player. He has many credentials for being considered the best athlete to wear the number 58. Here are a few of them:

  • 9-time Pro Bowler

  • 1974 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year

  • 1976 AP Defensive Player of the Year

  • Eight-time Defensive Captain of the Steelers

  • Four-time Super Bowl Champ

  • 1970s All-Decade Team

  • 1980s All-Decade Team

  • 1990 NFL Hall of Fame Inductee

Did you know........Jack Lambert played at Kent State University?

(photo courtesy of

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