The Philadelphia sports scene is already overcrowded. But here's one more thing.
The Philadelphia sports scene is already overcrowded. But here's one more thing.
Published September 5, 19 & 28, October 12 & 29, November 15 & 28 and December 9, 2018
UPDATED September 8, 2023
This is the compilation of a multi-part series seeking to determine who the best Philadelphia Eagle is at each and every uniform number throughout franchise history. We also did this with the Phillies, remember? The Flyers, too.
Keep in mind, these evaluations are made based on WHAT THAT PLAYER DID WHILE WEARING THAT NUMBER WITH THE EAGLES, so if some Hall of Famer comes from another team and then plays one season with the Birds, he doesn’t get credit for what he’s already done. Anyway, some people like to nitpick, so I want to be clear of the parameters here. I update this list about once a season, or as needed. Now, let us begin with the Birds.
#0 – Once D’Andre Swift plays a down, it’s all his.
#1 – Previously the domain of kickers and punters, this is now likely to belong to Jalen Hurts in perpetuity. Run with it, young man.
#2 – Since Hurts switched away from this number after his rookie year, it safely belongs to David Akers. He is the team’s all-time leader in scoring and games played, and Eagles fans absolutely love him. Rightfully so, as he was the epitome of a hard worker on the field and a model citizen off it. Maybe Darius Slay can wrest it away?
#3 – Mark Sanchez. Ugh, I know. But there isn’t a whole lot here. “The Sanchize” went 4-6 in ten starts over two seasons with the Eagles. At least he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. And didn’t do anything as bad as the Butt Fumble while he was here. Just a whole lot of nothing to choose from.
#4 – Shoutout to Max Runager, who had six seasons of yeoman punting for the Eagles back in the ‘80’s. But this number now belongs to Jake Elliott. Dude nailed a clutch field goal in the Super Bowl and, oh yeah, a 61-yarder against the Giants. Even after sagging a bit after that, he’s re-established himself nicely.
#5 – Roman Gabriel had a few good seasons at QB for the Birds in the ‘70’s, and…just kidding. #5 will always love you. It bears repeating once again that, even though he’s much-maligned, the borderline Hall of Fame career that Donovan McNabb put together as an Eagle was everything we could have asked for (except for that Super Bowl) when he was booed as the #2 selection at the 1999 NFL draft. Over 30,000 yards passing. 3,000 yards rushing. 200+ TDs. Nine playoff wins. Yeah, pretty good. But I think we can all agree that it'd be great if we never hear from him again.
#6 – After the better part of a century where the best Eagle to wear this number was former kicker Alex Henery, I will gladly give this digit to DeVonta Smith. Two years in, Mr. Smith looks like a home run draft pick who can torch the league for years to come. Please continue.
#7 – No mention of Bobby Hoying will be made here. Crap, too late. But shoutouts to Jeff Garcia for the job he did in 2006 and to Michael Vick for a near-MVP season with the Birds in 2010. Still, Ron Jaworski stands above the rest here. For a decade under center wearing the Kelly Green, Jaws took a beating but stayed upright enough to post four 3,000-yard seasons and lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980-81. A true gamer if there ever was one, he remains a fixture in Eagles history decades after his playing days ended. Haason Reddick has an outside shot if he stays long enough.
#8 – The Eagles have had very few players ever wear #8. Paul McFadden enjoyed several good seasons as the team’s kicker in the 1980’s, but Donnie Jones will get the top spot. The veteran punter was a model of consistency for five seasons, culminating in a Super Bowl win in the final game of his career. The guy made punts a worry-free issue for half a decade, which sounds kind of basic, but isn’t.
#9 – The really old school (none of whom are reading this) might argue for Sonny Jurgensen, but we all know the answer here. “BD” Nick Foles was the Super Bowl MVP. And that’s really all there is to it.
#10 – DeSean Jackson may have been the most exciting Philadelphia athlete to come through town in the last decade and a half. From “Miracle at the Meadowlands #2” to all of the long bombs he was on the receiving end of, Jackson was one of the Eagles’ best draft picks of this century. The numbers should have probably been even better with the Eagles, but Chip Kelly cut him for no reason after the best year of his career, so it is what it is.
#11 – The winner here is Norm Van Brocklin. The Hall of Famer led the Eagles to the NFL title in 1960 to cap off his career. He was also a Pro Bowler in all three seasons that he spent with the Eagles. And not only did he play every game at QB during his time with the team, he was the Eagles’ punter as well! Can you imagine that happening nowadays? A.J. Brown is gaining, though, so the Dutchman may not be long for this spot. As far as I can tell, they’re the only two good players to ever wear #11 for the Eagles.
#12 – Speaking of quarterbacks who punted, #12 will always be synonymous with the electrifying Randall Cunningham. A tremendous all-around athlete, he passed for over 22,000 yards with the Birds and ran for another 4,500. And he had that 91-yard punt that we all remember, plus an 80-yarder the following season. Randall never could get over the hump in the playoffs, but he is still fondly remembered by Eagles fans for carrying the offense for large chunks of his 11 years on the team.
#13 – I didn’t even remember that he wore #17 for the first two years of his career, but I guess it’s a good thing that Nelson Agholor switched to #13 before the Super 2017 season. The numbers he put up in the aftermath of SB52 were just good enough to put him ahead of the competition here. Travis Fulgham, we hardly knew ye.
#14 – Ty Detmer is tempting, but on sheer volume alone, this number unfortunately belongs to Riley Cooper. Yes, yes, he said something really stupid, but his 8 TD, 835 yard campaign in 2013 was too good to dismiss entirely. He never hit those numbers before or after, but the guy was productive enough to stick around on an NFL roster for six years. And that says something. I guess. Kenny Gainwell could stay in town long enough to make a push.
#15 – Retired with good reason for Steve Van Buren, who was tremendous. A 2-time NFL champion and 5-time All-Pro in eight seasons with the Eagles, he was arguably the greatest player in NFL history at the time of his retirement. The decades since may have dimmed his star, but Eagles fans will always know about him.
#16 – Maybe you don’t remember Norm Snead, but I sure do. Actually, I don’t. He was QB from 1964-70 and wasn’t all that great, but he still wins easily here because of lack of competition.
#17 – Hall of Fame wide receiver Harold Carmichael had a fantastic career with the Eagles, and he’s still the franchise’s all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdown catches. His only blemish was the 2-game stint he had with the Cowboys in his final season, but nobody’s perfect.
#18 – Honorable mention to Jeremy Maclin, who would have won this “competition” if he had spent another couple years in town. But “The Hawk” Ben Hawkins played eight solid years with the Eagles, recording an amazing 18.3 yards per reception over that time. He hit the endzone 32 times for the Birds, amassing nearly 5,000 yards in the air.
#19 – Literally nothing to pick from here, so we’ll give it to Tom Dempsey. Yes, the guy who had the field goal record for all those years. After booting that 63-yarder for the Saints in 1970, he spent the next four years with the Eagles. And he was fine. That’s about all. You expected JJ Arcega-Whiteside?
#20 – Andre Waters was a fearsome defender for a decade for the Birds, but then came a guy who made this number his forever. Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins went all-out on every play for the Eagles over thirteen seasons. Is he on the proverbial “Mount Rushmore” of Philadelphia sports? Maybe call 97.5 and argue over that one. All I know is, he was the best Eagle I ever saw.
#21 – Here’s a number that offers up some good choices. First you have Joe Scarpati, who was an interception machine for the Eagles in the 1960’s. As in, on defense. He wasn’t a Mike McMahon-type interception machine. And we all remember Bobby Taylor, who had nine solid seasons for the Eagles during the Ray Rhodes/Andy Reid era. But the best #21 in team history is Eric Allen. A borderline Hall of Famer, he had five Pro Bowl selections during his seven seasons with the team, then still played another seven productive seasons in the league after leaving town. But his best work was with the Birds.
#22 – Duce Staley of pickle juice fame is probably the name that leaps most immediately to mind for Birds fans of our generation, but he does not claim the top spot at this number. Instead, it goes to Timmy Brown. He was an outstanding all-around halfback for the Eagles from 1960-68, and he excelled in the kick return game as well. He holds the franchise record for most kick return yards (4483) and touchdowns (5).
#23 – Bobby Taylor’s partner in crime, and a guy who’s probably THIS CLOSE to being a Hall of Famer, Troy Vincent is far and away the right choice here. He had 28 picks over eight seasons with the Eagles as he blanketed the league’s top receivers. Vincent made five consecutive Pro Bowls with the Eagles.
#24 – What, you expected Nnamdi Asomugha? With all due respect to Nate Ramsey, who played ten fine years with the Eagles from 1963-72, recency bias leads me to select Sheldon Brown here. And it wasn’t just the hit on Reggie Bush. Brown didn’t miss a game in eight seasons on the team, and he partnered with Lito Sheppard to help stabilize the secondary after the team somewhat shockingly let the Taylor-Vincent tandem walk after the 2003 season. Brown surprisingly never made a Pro Bowl, but he definitely deserved it.
#25 – At first, I thought, “Ok, LeSean McCoy. Ugh, but he was really good”. But you know what? This is my damn list. Tommy McDonald is the true greatest Eagle at #25. His stats aren’t eye-popping, but the NFL was simply a different league 50-60 years ago. For his era, McDonald was one of the best. Plus, the tiny receiver was tough and squeezed out every last ounce of ability that he had. The guy is a Hall of Famer for a reason. If that isn’t an Eagle, what is?
#26 – Hey, there’s Lito Sheppard. Old-timers Clarence Peaks and Al Nelson deserve a mention, but Sheppard’s body of work was admirable. And unlike teammate Sheldon Brown, Sheppard actually did make a couple Pro Bowls. Yes, we can all picture the times that he got burnt, but Sheppard was as reliable as any corner in the league over his seven seasons as an Eagle. Plus, his middle name is Decorian. That’s pretty awesome. Miles Sanders made a run at it, but he left town too soon for consideration.
#27 – Irv Cross was a talented defender in the 1960’s for the Eagles, but stalwart Malcolm Jenkins wins the award of “Mr. 27”. Ok, that’s lame. At any rate, Jenkins never missed a game in six seasons as an Eagle, and he was simply a tremendous leader. Jenkins will always be admired in this town for his key contributions to a Super Bowl championship. The Eagles hit a home run when they signed him in 2014.
#28 – The only player even on the register over the last couple decades at this number is Correll Buckhalter. But he just got injured as I was writing this, so we have to reach all the way back to Bill Bradley, who is tied for the team’s all-time interception lead with Eric Allen and Brian Dawkins. This includes an amazing 11 (in 14 games) in 1971. Bradley also served as the team’s punter for several seasons.
#29 – Nate Allen actually comes close here, believe it or not. But the winner is Harold Jackson. He only spent four years in Kelly green, playing more games with both the Rams and Patriots, but he did rack up two 1,000 yard receiving seasons back when those were a scarce commodity.
#30 – Clearly, the Eagles have had a lot of great players wear uniform numbers in the 20s, but the 30s don’t start off so well. Charlie Garner is the only half-decent Eagle to don this jersey number in recent memory, and he honestly wasn’t even that good for the Eagles. And a tip of the cap to Corey Clement I suppose. But let’s go back to Joe Lavender, a tall, lanky cornerback nicknamed “Big Bird”. He had three nice, promising seasons with the Eagles to start his NFL career. Then he was traded to the Redskins for some reason, where he would go on to appear in two Pro Bowls and then ended his career with a Super Bowl win. Still, he did enough with the Eagles to get the nod here.
#31 – Al “Pass Interference” Harris (aka “The Dreadator”) wore this number while enraging us from 1998 through 2002. But it was best worn previously by Wilbert Montgomery. The talented back held the Eagles’ all-time rushing record for a few decades before being passed by LeSean McCoy. He also ranks second in rushing touchdowns in franchise history. Montgomery was a threat through the air as well, typically putting up 50 or so catches and 500 yards per year in that department.
#32 – He made my list of the 50 Most Disliked Philadelphia Athletes for reasons other than his actual play on the field, but you can’t deny that Ricky Watters had three great seasons for the Eagles from 1995-97. Averaging over 20 carries per game, he posted 3,794 yards and 31 rushing TDs over those three years, and he also caught 161 passes for 1318 yards during that time. Dude was pretty good, and it’s a shame he left for Seattle after the 1997 season. But he got his money. And “money” is precisely the answer to his most famous query: For who? For what?
#33 – Smoldering pile of garbage at this number, so let’s just say William Frizzell and call it a day. Yeah, I don’t know who he is either.
#34 – Even though he was already in steep decline when he came to town, Herschel Walker is the only guy who fits the bill here. One of the best athletes to ever play the game, he was the team’s leading rusher for three straight years at the head of a backfield committee while also racking up some impressive receiving numbers for a running back.
#35 – The Eagles have never had a real difference-maker at this number. I’m feeling kind of generous, so I’ll hand over the honors here to Boston Scott.
#36 – Could it be anyone besides B-West? Brian Westbrook truly did it all over eight seasons as a Bird, and he now sits in fourth spot in franchise history in receptions and third in rushing yards. One of the more popular Eagles in recent years, Westbrook was a model citizen and athlete, a true gamer who extracted every bit of ability from his small frame. You still see a lot of #36 Eagles jerseys around, and you will for a long time.
#37 – Another number that has seen next to no impact for over a generation. We’ll go with Tom Woodeshick, who played in town from 1963-71 and is sneakily in the franchise’s top ten in rushing yards.
#38 – Sorry, Kenjon Barner and Thomas Tapeh fans, Sam Baker is the pick. He concluded his long football career with a 6-year stint as an Eagle, acting as the team’s kicker during that time. His numbers aren’t pretty now, but I guess they were fine back then. He also threw one pass as an Eagle, which was good for a 58-yard touchdown. So he’s got that going for him.
#39 – This is really bad. And I was almost going to give it to Sheldon Brown, who wore it during his rookie year, just so he could claim two different numbers on this list. But let’s play nice and give it to Quintin Demps, who had an ok first two years of his career back in 2008-09. He also feels like one of those guys who you’re not entirely sure isn’t on the team anymore. Like, he’s just been hiding on the depth chart for a decade for all you know.
#40 – No Eagle has ever worn #40 in your lifetime, and that’s because it’s retired in honor of Tom Brookshier. Starting at defensive back for the better part of a decade, Brookie made two Pro Bowls and was part of the 1960 championship team. He also missed two years in the prime of his career to serve in the U.S. Air Force. Going on to a distinguished broadcasting career after his playing days, he had the misfortune of working with Angelo Cataldi.
#41 – No doubt that Keith Byars was a solid player, but in a close call, this top spot goes to Randy Logan. He was a fixture of the Eagles’ secondary for a decade and ranks tenth in interceptions in team history. Logan didn’t miss a game in the first nine seasons of his career.
#42 – There’s a couple things I can’t believe here. First, that Kurt Coleman is the best #42 the Eagles have had. Secondly, that he’s already been off the team for nine years. I could have sworn he was just here like last week. Finally, why do I even bother continuing this list when this is what I have to deal with? Still, let’s keep going.
#43 – I will plead ignorance on knowing anything about Roynell Young, but apparently he was pretty good, and so he’s the winner at this number. Playing his entire nine-year NFL career in Kelly Green, the former first round pick from 1980 made one Pro Bowl and actually tied the aforementioned Randy Logan in career interceptions with the team. Mighty mouse Darren Sproles makes this a pretty close race, but I can’t justify putting him at the top.
#44 – This one has been retired in honor of Pete Retzlaff, who played (mostly) tight end for 11 seasons with the Eagles, making the Pro Bowl five times and once leading the NFL in receptions (56 catches in 12 games, things were way different back then). He ranks third in franchise history in catches and second in receiving yards.
#45 – Defensive back Don Burroughs won the championship in 1960, his first year with the Eagles after coming over from the Rams. In five years with the team, he intercepted 29 passes, which puts him sixth on the franchise list. And his nickname was “Blade”. Pretty awesome.
#46 – Not especially close here, as Herm Edwards takes the top spot. And it’s not just the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” either, as Herm had 33 interceptions over his nine seasons with the Eagles. Honorable mention to venerable long snapper/magician Jon Dorenbos at this number.
#47 – Safety Greg Jackson had two good seasons for the Birds in the mid-‘90s, but nobody remembers him. Instead, let’s pass the torch to Nathan Gerry, who was relatively productive with the team from 2017-2020.
#48 – A ferocious hitter, talented safety Wes Hopkins somehow only made one Pro Bowl during his decade-long tenure with the Eagles’ “Gang Green” defense, perhaps because he was overshadowed by so many star teammates. Still, his legacy within the Eagles organization is solidified forever.
#49 – Here’s some of the Eagles to wear #49 this century…Josh Parry, Jamar Chaney, Tom Nelson. With a list of luminaries like this, it’s no wonder that Alex Singleton is our winner at this number.
#50 – Sorry, G Cobb, go back to stammering on WIP. You aren’t the top #50 either, James Willis. Go back to…I don’t know what you’re doing these days. The winner: Guy Morriss. Aside from having a superfluous “S” at the end of his name, the man anchored the Eagles’ offensive line for a decade, during which the Eagles made their first Super Bowl.
#51 – A two-time Pro Bowler, linebacker William Thomas is a forgotten stud of Eagles’ defenses past. In nine seasons wearing Kelly/Midnight Green, he put up 18 interceptions and made 720 combined tackles. The numbers bear out that he may have been one of the top ten performers among Eagles’ defenders in team history. Don’t sleep on how good this guy was.
#52 – We have to reach back to another old-timer here, namely Dave Lloyd. He spent eight years with the Eagles in the 60’s, and he was a solid performer at the middle linebacker position. As with many of these players of yesteryear, that’s all I got. Go ask Ray Didinger about him.
#53 – Hugh Douglas was already a rising, young defensive star with the Jets when the Eagles traded for him in 1998. Over his six seasons with the team, he racked up 54.5 sacks, good for ninth in team history. Douglas also made three straight Pro Bowls, including his First-Team All-Pro season in 2000 when he registered a career high 15 sacks. The guy was simply an offensive line’s worst nightmare for most of his career.
#54 – The Axe Man cometh. Jeremiah Trotter was an Eagle through and through. The solid middle linebacker started off his career with four fabulous years for the team, but then he surprisingly left as a free agent when he and the Eagles failed to come to a contract agreement after they put the franchise tag on him. He went to the rival Redskins, but then returned to the Eagles just two years later, picking up where he left off. All in all, he made four Pro Bowls with the team, and he ranks among the franchise’s top 10 all-time in tackles. Not bad for a third round pick in 1998. Thanks, Ray Rhodes.
#55 – New pick alert. Ever since I started this list, Maxie Baughan has been the pick at #55. But now, I believe we can say that he has been surpassed by Brandon Graham. BG has become this generation’s “Mr. Eagle”, and he made the most important defensive play in team history to clinch Super Bowl LII. So, with apologies to Baughan and Frank LeMaster, let’s all just agree that Graham has earned this.
#56 – It’s a two-horse race here between a couple of linebackers, and it’s pretty tight. First, Jerry Robinson wore the number for the Eagles for six years, making the Pro Bowl one time before going on to a solid second half of his career with the Raiders. But I’m going to give it to Byron Evans. The career Eagle (all eight of his NFL seasons) led the league in tackles in 1989, his first full year as a starter. His peak was not as good as Robinson’s, so you can call me a homer for giving him the edge, but I stick by it.
#57 – Previously belonging to Chris Gocong, I am going to pass this number to T.J. Edwards thanks to the fine work he did with the Birds during the first four seasons of his career. It’s just a shame that he left for Chicago.
#58 – Maybe the best draft pick the Eagles have had this century (5th round, 146th overall in 2005), Trent Cole terrorized opposing quarterbacks during his decade as an Eagle. He reached double digit sacks four times, finishing with 85.5 to land him in second place on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard. Cole made a pair of Pro Bowls during his stellar Eagles career.
#59 – Mike Mamula…just kidding. There’s no way that bust of a dud of a bum is making it on here. Seth Joyner, the happiest man in football, made two Pro Bowls in eight seasons as an Eagle, and he struck fear into the hearts of opponents with his vicious play on the gridiron. He’s one of just two Eagles to have multiple interception return TDs and fumble recovery TDs, with Sheldon Brown being the other.
#60 – What hasn’t already been said about “Concrete Charlie” Chuck Bednarik? Playing both sides of the ball. Murdering Frank Gifford. Eight Pro Bowls. Six time All-Pro. Two NFL Championships. Football Hall of Fame. A near perfect personification of this team and this town.
#61 – Now we get into a bunch of offensive lineman, and this could get really tough to quantify. But we’re gonna try! Steve Everitt played center from 1997-99, and he was ok. So let’s go a different route here and say that Bill Dunstan was the top Bird at this number. He played with the team from 1973-76 and looks to have been a decent contributor on defense. There aren’t many numbers available to back it up. Oh well.
#62 – Even before delivering the greatest speech since the Gettysburg Address, Jason Kelce had this number all wrapped up. He is immortal. He may be the most Philly athlete of all-time. Could Canton be in his future?
#63 – Offensive lineman Ron Baker had a longer Eagles career back in the 1980’s, but we’re giving this one to ol’ Honey Buns, Hank Fraley. His high level of play at center over five seasons with the Eagles didn’t result in any Pro Bowls, but he came very close. Plus, he had to deal with McNabb’s puke on his back.
#64 – Very little to choose from here. The best of the bunch appears to be Ed Blaine, a “meh” offensive guard who played for the Eagles from 1963-66. They can’t all be winners.
#65 – Nose tackle Charlie Johnson is a forgotten player in the history of great Eagles defenders. Playing for the team from 1977-81 before we had all the statistical information we do today, he was a beast. He made three straight Pro Bowls, twice being named an All-Pro. But he will now have to pass the torch at this number to Lane Johnson (no relation). Lane is everything you could ever want in an offensive tackle and is a rare case of the Eagles hitting a home run on a first round pick.
#66 – The last few generations know him from hawking every product, service, restaurant, etc. under the sun, but Bill Bergey actually played football way back when. And he was pretty damn good. A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro over seven seasons as an Eagle, you can make a legitimate case for him as a Hall of Famer. Apologies to Jamón Brown.
#67 – The Eagles traded away the aforementioned Hank Fraley because they were comfortable handing over the center job to Jamaal Jackson. The Delaware State product had a solid seven years as an Eagle. Good not great.
#68 – Defensive end Dennis Harrison spent seven years in Philly from the late-70’s into the mid-80’s. He made the Pro Bowl in 1982 when he finished second in the NFL in sacks, the first season that stat was officially kept by the league. But watch out, Jordan Mailata is creeping up.
#69 – A towering presence on the Birds’ offensive line for nearly a decade, Jon Runyan ended up being worth every bit of what the Eagles gave him when they signed him to a big free agent contract in 2000. He never missed a game as an Eagle. Other than being schooled by Michael Strahan from time to time, he was a rock.
#70 – Nicknamed “Big Ox”, Al Wistert was a four-time All-Pro two-way player back in the 1940’s, winning two NFL Championships for the Eagles as well. He became the first player to have his number retired by the team.
#71 – Jermaine Mayberry had a very nice Eagles career, but Jason Peters wins this one handily. Back in the days when he was able to stay on the field for more than three plays in a row without suffering an injury, he was a dominant blindside protector, earning 7 Pro Bowl nods as an Eagle after an excellent five-season start to his career in Buffalo.
#72 – Before there was Jason Peters, there was Tra Thomas. The behemoth left tackle validated his first round selection in 1998 by starring for a decade and going to three Pro Bowls.
#73 – A bit of a controversial pick here, but it has to be Shawn Andrews. Taken in the first round in 2004, the ginormous guard broke his leg in his first NFL game, missing the rest of his rookie year. But he came back strong in 2005, and then went to back-to-back Pro Bowls in the two years after that. So far so good. But it was at this point that Andrews took a leave from the team because he was suffering from depression. He made it back in time to start the 2008 season, but then he played just two games before a back injury knocked him out for the year. Another back injury cost him all of 2009, the Eagles released him, and that was it for him in town. A promising career derailed by a number of factors.
#74 – Mike Pitts was a lesser-known member of Gang Green in the late 1980’s. His career crested in ’89 when he had seven sacks.
#75 – The winner by a wide margin is Merrill Reese’s old radio partner Stan Walters. As a left tackle, he played nine years with the Eagles. He made two Pro Bowls and started 122 consecutive games from 1975-83.
#76 – Special mention goes to Jerry Sisemore for his decade-plus of excellent play on the Eagles’ offensive line. But let’s go for quality over quantity here and give the nod to Hall of Famer Bob Brown. Taken second overall by the Eagles in the 1964 draft, the offensive tackle was a mountain of a man. He won Rookie of the Year, and then was an All-Pro in three of his five seasons with the Eagles before he asked for a trade and was dealt to the Rams. It’s truly a shame he wasn’t here longer.
#77 – Nothing especially appetizing here, so let’s just say Artis Hicks wins, laugh a little bit, and then never come back to this number.
#78 – It’s pretty much a coin flip here between a pair of defensive linemen: Carl Hairston and Hollis Thomas. And I gave it to Hairston, mostly because I have had to listen to Hollis Thomas’ incoherent ramblings on the radio for a long time and don’t want to give him any kind of credit.
#79 – Now that the dust has fully settled on his career, we’ll give it to three-time Pro Bowler Brandon Brooks as the best #79 in Eagles history. He surpasses previous winner and mass of humanity Todd Herremans, who held down the left guard spot (and occasionally filled in at tackle) for nearly a decade.
#80 – Back to some skill players here. And that’s why James Thrash doesn’t qualify. This number goes to Irving Fryar, who still had enough left in his tank when he came to the Eagles in his mid-30’s to put up a pair of 1100+ yard receiving seasons and make a Pro Bowl. He also had a show with Angelo Cataldi on Comcast SportsNet for some reason.
#81 – It has to be T.O., right? A quick look at raw numbers shows that Jason Avant and Jordan Matthews put up more stats than Terrell Owens did in his mere 22 games with the Eagles. But who are we kidding? T.O. it is.
#82 – Ranking fourth in team history in receiving yards and tied for third in touchdown catches, Mike Quick is an Eagle for life. And I’ll say this about his broadcasting career…he was a great wide receiver. Make Herr’s yours.
#83 – You have to go back half a century to Don Hultz, an ok defensive end back then for the Birds. Greg Lewis and Jeff Thomason merit a mention, but that just shows you how thin this number has been.
#84 – I can tell you one thing; it’s not Freddie Mitchell. Or even Freddie Solomon. I’m fresh out of Freddies. The winner is Keith Krepfle, who was a serviceable target at tight end for Ron Jaworski for a number of seasons.
#85 – Not especially close here, as Charlie Smith takes it. He was a decent depth receiver for a number of years for the Eagles, and he actually posted a career high 825 yards and was the team’s leading receiver during the 1980 Super Bowl season. Who knew?
#86 – When this list first appeared, I had Fred Barnett in the top spot. But that was probably a mistake from the outset, as Zach Ertz is clearly the right selection. His 2018 season did the trick. Most catches in a season in Eagles history. Most catches by a tight end in a season in NFL history. Throw in a Super Bowl ring and three Pro Bowl selections. Second in franchise history in receptions (and oh so close to being top dog). There you have it.
#87 – I was really tempted to go with Todd Pinkston. But, you know what, I think I’ll take Brent Celek instead. The career Eagle only missed one game in eleven seasons, and of course he went out on top as a Super Bowl champion, albeit it in a reduced role by that point of his career. Celek probably never put up the raw numbers that we hoped for in his career, but you have to agree that he was a solid player.
#88 – Defensive lineman Gary Pettigrew had a long and productive career in the 60’s and 70’s for the Birds, but Keith Jackson is our current pick at #88. The tight end shot right out of the gate and was an All-Pro in each of his first three NFL seasons. He looked destined for greatness. But, disappointingly, he only played four years in Philadelphia, moving on to the Dolphins following a holdout and then a court decision that granted him free agency. Dallas Goedert is poised to take over at this number imminently, however.
#89 – Honorable mention here to Chad Lewis. But the winner is Calvin Williams, who cracks the top 15 in franchise history in both catches and receiving yards. Solid but unspectacular.
#90 – Mike Golic of “Mike & Mike” fame was the only serious contender here until Corey Simon came along. The large individual played five seasons at D tackle for the team (I really thought it was more than that until I looked this up again) and made one Pro Bowl for the Birds. Woo. Maybe Jordan Davis gets there down the line.
#91 – The final first round pick by Andy Reid during his time with the Eagles back in 2012, Fletcher Cox seemed like a bit of a head-scratcher at the time. But, 11 seasons, six Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl win later, you can’t argue with the results. Thanks, Big Red. The guy could be headed for Canton some day.
#92 – Challenging for the title of greatest defensive player in NFL history, Reggie White spent the first eight seasons of his Hall of Fame career in Kelly Green, never recording any FEWER than 11 sacks in a year as he was a six-time All-Pro for the Birds. He’s tarnished in my mind for going to Green Bay the way he did (I was 8 years old and don’t really remember him as an Eagle), but he was a true legend of the game.
#93 – Unless you want me to give this to the much-maligned Jason Babin, Jevon Kearse wins this by default. “The Freak” was hardly that for the Eagles, but he was passable for two seasons before the wheels fell off.
#94 – In previous updates, we gave the nod here to N.D. Kalu, but Josh Sweat, come on down, it’s yours now. A 4th-rounder in 2018, Sweat has been a great addition to the squad.
#95 – John Bunting spent his entire 11-year career at the outside linebacker position for the Eagles. Good enough for me.
#96 – Another big member of Gang Green, Clyde Simmons recorded a ridiculous 19 sacks during the 1992 season en route to being named an All-Pro. Overall, he currently sits third in franchise history in that category.
#97 – Darwin Walker had a very wrinkly head, but he was also a pretty decent D-lineman from 2001-06 for the Eagles. He put up 27.5 sacks during that time as part of a solid line rotation for some very good Eagles teams.
#98 – Mike Patterson never came close to fulfilling expectations after he was a first round pick in the 2005 draft, but he’s still the best the Eagles have had at #98. For six seasons, he was a valuable part of the Eagles’ defensive unit even though he didn’t put up big numbers. But everything was put into perspective when he collapsed and suffered a seizure at training camp in 2011. Amazingly, he still played all but one game that year, undergoing brain surgery after the season to correct an arterial issue. He played very sparingly in 2012, and that was the end of his Eagles career, though he did spend two seasons with the Giants afterward. Thankfully he is doing well today in his retirement.
#99 – And we conclude our list with a truly special player who was taken from us far too soon. Jerome Brown was a first round pick by the Eagles in 1987. His play improved every year until he became one of the best defensive tackles in football, being named an All-Pro in both 1990 and 1991. Then, that offseason, he was killed in a car accident, never fully realizing the immense potential that he was so clearly building toward. #99 will rightfully never be worn by another Eagle.
Hopefully you enjoyed this list as it took you down memory lane. Maybe you even learned a few things. Had a few laughs. Too much to ask? At any rate, thanks for reading.