Saturday, September 27, 2008
John Jefferson, WR, San Diego
1978 - 1985
4 Pro Bowls
J.J. blew into the league with a force that is often remembered by those who saw him play. "The Space Age Receiver" averaged 17.9 YPC in each of his first 2 seasons. He caught over 1,000 yards of balls in each of his first 3 years. His catch total went from 56 to 61 to 82 in those years. He snared 36 touchdowns those 3 years as well. He was traded to Green Bay after a contact dispute. Though he averaged about 16 YPC in his first 3 years as a Packer, he also battled injuries. His Packer highlight was being named the 1982 Pro Bowl MVP. J.J.'s best year there was in 1983, when he caught 7 touchdowns on 57 receptions for 830 yards. He played one more year there before finishing his career with the Cleveland Browns. He caught 3 balls in 9 games played. Perhaps if J.J. had stayed in the warm weather and confines of Air Coryell, he would be with the legends of Canton. He made the greatest catch I've ever seen while with the Chargers.
Gary Barbaro, S, Kansas City
1976 - 1982
3 Pro Bowls
In 101 games, Barbaro snagged 39 interceptions for 779 yards. 3 were for touchdowns. He also recovered 10 fumbles. He left for the USFL in 1983, where his joined the New Jersey Generals. He got hurt, and tried to play as a Tight End in 1984. In his 7 seasons, you can see he averaged 5 interceptions a season. He picked off 10 balls one year, and once took a ball 102 yards for a touchdown.
Many fans may not remember Barbaro because he was succeeeded by Deron Cherry, but he was very productive and quite spectacular in his short NFL career.
Tim Wilson, FB, Houston Oilers
1977 - 1984
Tim was probably the best blocking back of his era. He was Earl Campbells personal bodyguard. Weighing 10 lbs less than the Tyler Rose, Wilson would squash lineman, linebackers, and defensive backs to pave the way. Earl would stomp on the remains on his way to the end zone. Tim was also an adept receiver. He caught 94 passes his first 4 seasons before being asked to only block as defenses changed strategies to stop Campbell. When Tim left for New Orleans in 1983, Earl followed him in 1984. Tim has passed away since, but Earl is the godfather to his son, Seattle Seahawks 2007 #1draft choice, Josh Wilson.
Dave Butz, DT, Washington Redskins
1973 - 1988
1 Pro Bowl
Big Dave was a #1 pick of the Saint Louis Cardinals. He blew out his knee in the first game of his second season, and the Cardinals gave up on him. The Redskins happily picked Dave up. Dave only missed 4 more games in his 14 years with Washington. He finished his career as the oldest starting player in the NFL at that time. He is a member of the NFL's 1980's All Decade team, and on the Washington Redskins 70 Greatest Players Roster. Dave was known as a run stuffer. It was said that it was easier to run into the Great Wall of China than Butz. Butz became a better pass rusher as his career went on, due to having Dexter Manley, Charles Mann, Fred Stokes, Darryl Grant and a fine linebacking corp around him. He sacked the opposing quarterbacks 11.5 times in 1983, his lone Pro Bowl year. He was often over looked the years before because run stuffers generally do as compared to pass rushers. Sacks were not recorded by the NFL until 1982. Butz acculated 33.5 from then until he retired in 1988. The Redskins have had many great Defensive Tackles in their team history, and Dave Butz is a name that will always be amongst the first mentioned.
Rolland Lawrence, CB, Atlanta Falcons
1973 - 1980
1 Pro Bowl
Rolland was a solid Cornerback who was given the assignment to cover the best Wide Receiver of the opponents that the Falcons faced week to week. Rolland made the team as an undrafted free agent. He had 1 interception his rookie year, where he took the ball 81 yards to set up a Falcons scoring opportunity. He picked off 1 pass his second year as well. In his third year, Rolland picked off 9 balls for 163 yards. He took one interception 87 yards for a touchdown. He followed that with 6 interceptions the next year. In 1977, Lawrence picked off 7 balls and was named to the Pro Bowl team. He would then intercept 6 passes in each of the next 2 seasons. In his final year, Rolland picked off 3 passes. He also recovered 10 fumbles in his career. Lawrence was also an adept return specialist. He returned 109 punts and 29 kickoffs throughout his career. Lawrence picked off 39 balls in his 8 year career and has to be considered one of the franchises best Cornerbacks in their history. His 39 picks are still ranked first in the Falcons team history. He may not have gotten the accolades he so richly deserved in his career, but opponents who played against him will tell you that Rolland Lawrence was an excellent player.
Homer Jones, WR, NY Giants
1964 - 1970
2 Pro Bowls
Homer was a 20th! round pick. 277 other players were picked before him, and only 2 behind him. Jones was a track star in college. He opted for the AFL Houston Oilers initially, but blew out his knee in camp and was cut. Also cut with him was future Hall of Fame Cornerback Willie Brown. "D'OH"! After the G-Men paid for his knee surgery, Homer played 3 games his rookie year. He caught 4 balls for 82 yards, and returned 6 kick offs for 111 yards. The next year would be when the entire football viewing population would discover what the Big Blue had at Wide Receiver. He was thrown the ball only 26 times, but he gained 709 yards for 6 touchdowns. That is a 27.3 YPC! The next year, Jones snared 48 passes for 1,044 yards and 8 touchdowns. In 1967, Homer got 49 passes and gained 1,209 yards. 13 balls went for touchdowns. Jones followed that up with 45 catches for 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jones then caught 42 balls for 744 yards and 1 touchdown as his knee injuries caught up to him. He was traded to Cleveland. Homer only caught 10 balls for 143 yards and 1 touchdown as a Brown, but he also helped out by returning kickoffs. Homer returned 29 kicks for 744 yards, a 25.5 average. He also took a 94 yard kick for a touchdown. In his brief, but brilliant career, Homer caught 224 passes for 4,986 yards. That is a 22.3 YPC average for an entire career in an era where the 10 yard chuck rule was in effect, along with many other practices now outlawed in todays modern game. Jones also scored 38 total touchdowns in his 7 year career. Jones was known for the spectacular play. Whether it was rushing 47 yards for a score, or going 89 or 98 yards for a touchdown on a pass reception, Jones was special. The Giants have had many special Wide Receivers in their team history. Homer Jones certainly ranks near the top of that long list.