NFL Athlete Number 91 - Kevin Greene

Finally! A high number that doesn't match our number for the best professional athlete. The best professional athlete to ever wear number 91 plays hockey. The best NFL athlete to ever wear the number 91 is the longtime NFL athlete, Kevin Greene.

Greene had a long and productive professional football career, spanning the years 1985 through 1999. Greene was drafted out of Auburn by the L.A. Rams (you remember when they hailed from L.A. don't you?), in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL draft. Greene spent three years playing with the Rams off the bench, before becoming a starter and full time player in 1988 at the outside linebacker position. In 1988, his first season as a starter, Greene racked up 16.5 sacks and one interception. He would match that number in sacks the following year.

After eight productive seasons with the Rams, Greene moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He continued his strong defensive production in the city of steel. While in Pittsburgh, Greene would twice lead the league in sacks. He had 14 in 1994 and 14.5 in 1996.

Greene would finish up his career with three years in Carolina and one in San Francisco. He would continue to rack up sacks while splitting years between those two teams.

Over his very productive career, Greene would rack up 160 sacks. Good enough for third all time in the NFL.

Did you know.....Greene has 23 forced fumbles and 26 fumbles recovered over his career?

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NFL Athlete Number 90 - Neil Smith

Neil Smith was a great defensive lineman, and is our pick for the greatest professional athlete and NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 90.

Smith was an NFL sack machine, with 105.5 sacks over his career.

He's our pick for the best professional athlete to ever wear the number 90, so to find out more, check out the post about him here.

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NFL Athlete Number 89 - Mike Ditka

Taken in the first round of the 1961 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, out of the University of Pittsburgh, Mike Ditka is the best NFL Athlete to ever wear the jersey number 89.

Ditka ignited the Chicago Bears as a rookie in 1961, at the tight end position. He had his most prolific receiving season in 1961, earning Rookie of the Year honors. That year he caught 56 passes, 12 of which were touchdowns, for over 1,000 yards.

After playing with the Bears for six years, Ditka spent two with the Eagles and ended his playing career with the Cowboys after four years with America's team in 1972. Over his career with these three teams, Ditka had 427 receptions for 5,812 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Ditka was also obviously the head coach of one of the greatest NFL teams of all time, the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Did you know.....Mike Ditka was the NFL coach of the year in 1985 and 1988?

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NFL Athlete Number 88 - Marvin Harrison

Hailing from Philly and playing his college ball at Syracuse University, Marvin Harrison has established himself as one of the best wide receivers ever, and the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 88.

Harrison was taken with the 19th overall pick by the Colts in 1996 and has played with them ever since. Over his illustrious career in Indy he has caught more than 1,000 passes for over 14,000 yards and over 120 touchdowns. He is also an 8 time All Pro and an 8 time Pro Bowler.

As of the 2007 NFL season, Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning were the all time leaders in QB to WR touchdown combinations.

Did you know......that Harrison was one of Donovan McNabb's wide receivers at Syracuse?

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NFL Athlete Number 87 - Dave Casper

It may not be a name that rolls off the tongue to today's NFL football fan, however an educated fan of the game should know the name. Dave Casper is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 87.

The tight end taken by the Raiders out of the University of Notre Dame, played in the NFL between the years of 1974 and 1984. Casper did not become a starter for the Raiders until 1976, but when he did, he certainly made the most of it. That year he caught passes for 691 yards and 10 TDs.

Casper would go on to put up some impressive numbers each year thereafter, through the 1982 season. In 1980, after six games with the Raiders, Casper was traded to the Houston Oilers, where he continued to catch passes from his old Raider teammate Kenny Stabler.

For his career, Casper was a five time Pro Bowler, a two time Super Bowl champ, and he caught passes for 5,216 yards and 52 TDs. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Did you know.....Casper once caught a 42 yard pass in the 1977 Divisional Playoff game that was deemed, "The Ghost To The Post"?

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NFL Athlete Number 86 - Hines Ward

Ketchup anyone? Hines (not Heinz, although he does play in their hometown) Ward is the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 86.

Hines was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft out of Georgia. He has since played his entire pro career (spanning 1998 to the present) with the Pittsburgh Steelers. What has he done while with the Steelers? Why, only this:

  • Super Bowl XL MVP
  • 4-time Pro Bowler
  • 3-time All Pro
  • Career receptions leader for Pittsburgh
  • Over 9,000 career receiving yards
  • Over 700 career receptions

Not only his Hines Ward a great receiver, but he is a phenomenal blocker. Check out this video of a pancake block by Hines.

Did you know......that Hines Ward was also the starting quarterback in college for the Georgia Bulldogs?

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NFL Athlete Number 85 - Jack Youngblood

Great name, great football player. Greatest NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 85 is Jack Youngblood of Los Angeles Rams fame. (Remember when L.A. had a football team or two?!)

Youngblood is a 2001 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, who played his entire pro football career, spanning the years 1971 to 1984, with the Rams. Extremely durable, Youngblood played in an outstanding 201 consecutive pro football games for the Rams.

Youngblood was named the Rams MVP in 1975, 1976 and 1979, and was a seven time Pro Bowl selection.

Did you know......Youngblood's jersey number 85 has been retired by the Rams?

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Jersey Number News

Bill Bradley and Dick Kazmaier will simultaneously have their jersey number 42 retired across all sports at Princeton University. It's not often that you hear of two athletes having the same exact uniform number retired at once.

Another school with orange uniforms, like Princeton, will be in the spotlight of fans and media alike this month. Syracuse University star and Heisman trophy winner Ernie Davis will be featured in the new movie about him, titled "The Express". Davis wore one of the most famous jersey numbers in college sports while at Syracuse. Jersey number 44 has been retired at the school in honor of Davis as well as superstars Jim Brown and Floyd Little.

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NFL Athlete Number 84 - Shannon Sharpe

Drafted by the Denver Broncos with pick number 192 out of Savannah State, Shannon Sharpe played in the NFL between the years of 1990 and 2003, eventually becoming the best NFL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 84.

Shannon played in all 16 regular season games his first three years in the NFL, however it wasn't until his fourth NFL season that he really hit his stride and put up some big numbers. Playing tight end for the Broncos, in 1993, he caught 81 passes for 995 yards and 9 TDs during the regular season. He had strong receiving numbers each season thereafter (with the exception of 1999 when he only played in 5 games.)

Over his career, Sharpe amassed some excellent receiving numbers, especially for a tight end.

  • 10,060 receiving yards

  • 815 receptions

  • 62 touchdowns

Did you know.....Sharpe was a member of three Super Bowl championship teams?

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Jersey Number Quiz

There are three San Francisco 49er QBs to have their jersey numbers retired. Joe Montana (16) and Steve Young (8) are two of them.

Can you name the other?

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NFL Athlete Number 83 - Andre Reed

Taken with pick number 86, in the 1985 NFL draft out of Kutztown University by the Buffalo Bills, Andre Reed is the best NFL athlete to ever wear uniform number 83.

Reed, who played most of his career with the Buffalo Bills (from 1985 through 1999), was one of the best wide receivers to ever take to the NFL gridiron. Over his career, he had 951 receptions for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns.

He has also caught 27 passes in the four Super Bowls he participated in.
Did you know......Reed also rushed for 500 yards during his NFL career?

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