Since the stagnating NFL news revolves around a lockout and undecided future, perhaps it is time to tickle the memory cells by recalling some past gridiron legends you may have forgotten until now.
CHARLES "HUMPS" COWAN
Charles was drafted in the 4th round of the 1961 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was the 45th player chosen overall. He was moved to left guard as a rookie and started right away.
He played there until 1964, then was moved to right tackle. In 1967, the Rams won their first division title in 18 years. Cowan made his first Pro Bowl Team in 1968.
He was moved to left tackle the next year, and would be named to the Pro Bowl team the next two seasons as well. In 1971, "Humps" was named to the Sporting News All Conference First Team.
He was then named to the All NFL Second Team by both the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers Association, as well as the Second Team All Conference by the UPI.
Charles was a mainstay until after the 1975 season, when he retired. The Rams have had many great players in their illustrious history, and Charles "Humps" Cowan is one of their very best.
Reggie was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 6th round of the 1983 draft, and was the 167th player chosen overall. He produced immediately, averaging 43.1 yards on 74 punts. He also had the first of just five career punts blocked. Roby went to his first Pro Bowl the next year, when he averaged 44.7 yards on 51 punts.
He would be named an All Pro every year from there until 1987. Known for his strong leg and incredible hang time, Roby led the NFL in 1986 and 1987 with the longest punts of the year of 73 and 77 yards. He led the NFL with a net average of 38.7 yards per punt in 1986.
Reggie returned to the Pro Bowl in 1989 after 42.4 yards on 58 attempts. He then led the NFL with a 45.7 yards average in 1991, on 54 attempts. He was named an All Pro again.
Reggie then joined the Washington Redskins in 1993, and went to his final Pro Bowl the next year. He averaged 44.4 yards on a career high 82 punts. It was also the final time he would be named an All Pro.
Roby then joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 1995, and averaged 42.8 yards on 77 attempts. He also attempted his only career pass that year, which went for 48 yards. 1996 saw Roby in a Houston Oilers uniform, and he had a career best 38 yards net that year.
He stayed with the team as they moved to Tennessee the next year, and then joined the San Francisco 49ers for 14 games in 1998, and averaged 41.9 yards on 60 punts. He then retired from the game with a career average of 43.3 yards per punt on 992 attempts.
Reggie Roby was one of a kind. He was known for his quick two step delivery, which many have tried to emulate since. He also wore a watch many games so he could time his punts in the air.
The NFL only started recording net punting average in 1991, as well as virtually every other type of punting statistic. Roby's career average is probably better than the recorded one of just over 36 yards.
He was a great directional punter and put an incredible amount of air under his punts. Twice he had opponents fair catch his punts 23 times over the 8 years that stat was kept.
He still holds several NFL and team records. His 77 yard punt in the longest in Miami Dolphin history, as is his 58.5 yards per punt single game average.
His ten punts in the 1985 Pro Bowl is a record, and he ranks second in Dolphins history in punt attempts and yardage.
Reggie Roby is a member of the NFL 1980's All Decade Team, and should never be forgotten.
John was the second round draft choice of the expansion New Orleans Saints draft in 1967. He was the 52nd player chosen overall. He got the Saints off to a big bang by returning the opening kickoff of the first game in franchise history for a 94-yard touchdown. He ended up averaging 30.1 yards a return on 16 kickoffs that year, as well as catching 22 balls and another score.
John then had 24 catches the next year, then was traded to the Saint Louis Cardinals for the 1969 season. Gilliam responded by snaring a career best 52 receptions for 997 yards and a career high 9 touchdowns. He took one pass a career long 84 yards, and also scored the last kickoff return of his career after taking one 100 yards.
1970 saw John grab 45 passes for 952 yards and 5 scores. He also took one of his five rushing attempts 48 yards for a touchdown. After having 42 receptions for 837 yards the next year, Gilliam went to the Minnesota Vikings in 1972 and made his first Pro Bowl Team.
He led the NFL with 22 yards a catch, and had a career best 1,035 yards on 47 receptions and 7 scores. He went back to the Pro Bowl the next year after having 42 catches for 902 yards and 8 touchdowns.
He also scored the last time rushing the ball, by taking one of his five carries 44 yards to pay dirt. Gilliam went back to the Pro Bowl in 1974, after having 26 receptions for 578 yards and 5 scores.
He then joined numerous NFL stars by jumping to the World Football League for more money. Gilliam joined the Chicago Winds, but the team folded after just five games.
He still managed 20 receptions for 390 yards and 2 touchdowns during that time. He then returned to the Vikings and Pro Bowl in 1975. He caught 50 balls for 777 yards and 7 scores.
John then joined the Atlanta Falcons for the 1976 season, and caught 21 passes and 2 scores. Gilliam rejoined the Saints in 1977, and stayed with them for 10 games. He caught 11 passes and a score.
He then joined the Chicago Bears for two games, but did not record any statistics. Gilliam then retired from the NFL with 382 receptions for 7,056 yards and 48 scores. He also had 2 rushing and kick off returns for touchdowns.
His career average of 18.5 yards is excellent for many reasons. One is the fact that he played in the era of the 10 yard chuck rule, not the modern day 5 yard rule, making it much harder to get open. Another factor is that he had four seasons of averaging 12 yards a catch.
Gilliam was a blazing fast player with good hands. He played in two Super Bowls, and went to four Pro Bowls.
He was an unforgettable football player.
Andy was the Washington Redskins first round draft choice in 1938, the ninth player chosen overall. He played Fullback on offense, and Safety on defense. Farkas led the NFL with 6 rushing touchdowns in his rookie year, and took one ball a career best 53 yards for a score.
Andy would lead the Redskins in rushing in each of his first two years. In 1939, Farkas led the NFL with 139 carries. He also gained 547 yards, and both totals are his career highs. He also ran for 5 scores.
He is best remembered for catching a pass and taking it 99 yards for a touchdown. It is an NFL record that will always stand, and can only be tied. Andy averaged a whopping 27.3 yards per reception that year on 16 catches.
His 437 receiving yards was a career best, and his 984 total yards led the NFL. He scored 5 more times receiving the ball, and his 10 total touchdowns led the NFL. Farkas also scored on a trick play on a kickoff return. He would make his first All Pro Team for his efforts.
1940 saw Andy intercept a pass, then get hurt on his only carry in the opening game. He was lost for the season. Farkas returned in 1941 and carried the ball 85 times for 224 yards and 2 scores.
Andy also returned 14 punts for 152 yards. He took one punt 59 yards for the only punt return touchdown of his career. Farkas also intercepted a career best 4 passes.
The Redskins would win the NFL Championship in 1942, and Farkas was a big reason why. He gained 468 yards on 125 carries, both of which led the team.
Andy ran for 3 touchdowns, and caught 2 more on 11 receptions. He also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and intercepted 3 passes.
Farkas would be named an All Pro for the final time of his career after that season. Andy followed that up by leading the NFL with a kickoff return average of 31 yards in 1943. He took one ball 84 yards. Andy also led the NFL with 15 punt returns, and averaged 11.2 yards per return. \
Farkas also led the Redskins in rushing, after gaining 327 yards on 110 carries. He ran for 5 scores, and scored 4 more times on a career best 19 receptions. 1944 would be Andy's last as a Redskin. He intercepted 3 passes, ran for 85 yards on 21 carries.
Farkas then joined the Detroit Lions for the 1945 season, and carried the ball 31 times for 137 yards. He also caught 9 balls for 132 yards, and scored the last 2 touchdowns of his career. Andy also managed to gain 101 yards on 7 punt returns.
Andy Farkas then retired with 587 carries for 2,103 yards, and 80 receptions for 1,086 yards and 13 scores. He also had 11 interceptions, and scored three times via kickoff and punt returns.
Andy is also the first player in NFL history to wear eye black.
Andy Farkas is a member of the Washington Redskins 70 Greatest Players Team, and will never be forgotten.
Bill was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 12th round of the 1978 draft. He was the 333rd player chosen overall, the second from last pick that year.
He actually ended up being Mr. Irrelevant for that draft, because the last pick of the draft by Dallas never signed with the team due to injury.. The Dolphins cut him in training camp, then Kenney tried out for the Washington Redskins the next year and was cut again.
In 1980, he made the Kansas City Chiefs roster as a backup. Bill ended up starting 3 games that year due to an injury to the Chiefs starter Steve Fuller. He won two games and tossed five TD's.
Kenney started 13 games next year, tossing 9 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and won 8 games. In the strike shortened season of 1982, he tossed 7 scores in the 7 games he played. Kansas City then used their first round draft pick of 1983 on Todd Blackledge, another quarterback.
Bill responded by having the best season of his entire career, and set career best marks in most areas. His 603 attempts for 346 completions led the NFL. He also threw for 4,348 yards and 24 touchdowns, as well as rushing for 3 more scores.
He was named to the Pro Bowl, and is the only Mr. Irrelevant to have done so. Bill was on his way to matching those totals the next year, but got injured and missed half of the season. He threw for 2,098 yards on 151 completions and 15 touchdowns.
1985 saw Kenney start in ten games and toss 2,536 yards and 17 touchdowns. He started 16 games over the next two years, getting 28 touchdown passes on 4,029 yards.
After starting in 5 games in 1988 and not throwing a touchdown, the Chiefs waived Kenney. He then joined the Washington Redskins as a third stringer in 1989, but never saw action. Bill then retired from the NFL.
Bill Kenney held the Chiefs record for most passing yards in a season for 11 years and still ranks behind Hall Of Famer Len Dawson and former Pro Bowler Trent Green in most categories in Kansas City Chiefs history.
He is certainly one to never forget.
Chandler was the third pick overall in the 1978 draft by the New Orleans Saints.
He was used primarily as a return specialist his rookie year, duties he would rarely be asked to do for the rest of his career. He still managed 35 receptions in limited duty.
He broke out in his second year, when he had 65 receptions for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns. He led the NFL with a career long 85-yard reception. Chandler also made his first Pro Bowl team. He caught 65 balls the following year as well.
In 1981, Chandler was traded after the fourth game of the season to the San Diego Chargers. He ended up with a career high 69 catches, gaining 1,142 yards and scoring six touchdowns.
The strike shortened 1982 season was maybe Chandler's best. He snared 49 balls for 1,032 yards in eight games.
He led the NFL with nine touchdown catches and 129 receiving yards per game. His 21.1 yards per catch average was the best of his career, and he also made his second Pro Bowl team.
Chandler caught 58 balls the following year and was again a Pro Bowler. He followed that up with 52 receptions the next season.
The 1985 season would be Chandler's last as a Pro Bowler, when he caught 67 passes. He set career bests with 1,199 yards and 10 touchdowns as well.
He caught 56 passes the next year. He was injured in 1987, yet managed to play 12 games and catch 39 passes. Chandler then went to the San Francisco 49ers in 1988. He played four games for the eventual Super Bowl Champions before retiring.
Wes Chandler is know to some as the guy who replaced John Jefferson in Air Coryell during its heights.
One of the most famous playoff game in NFL history, The Epic In Miami, saw Chandler catch six balls for 106 yards and score his only punt return touchdown of his career from 56 yards out in the Chargers win.
He is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and was ranked 12th in NFL history in receiving yards and 13th in total receptions in NFL history when he retired. He finished with 559 receptions, 56 touchdowns and 10,526 all-purpose yards.
Coleman was drafted in the 11th round of the 1979 draft by the Washington Redskins. He established himself quickly as a special teams star in his rookie year.
He also showed great prowess in pass defense, and soon was part of the dime package, and picked off a pass that year. Coleman got to start 10 games the next year and swiped three passes for 92 yards. He also had a career high 118 tackles.
In 1981, Coleman started in 11 of the 12 games he played. He picked off three more balls and returned one 52 yards for the first touchdown of his career. He then went back to being spotted on passing downs mostly.
In 1984, he had a career high 10.5 quarterback sacks and returned a interception 49 yards for a score. In 1989, he scored a touchdown on a 24-yard interception.
He scored the last touchdown of his career in 1993, when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 24 yards. Coleman retired after the 1994 season, his 16th.
Of the 215 games he played, he started just 62 of them. His impact was made whenever he took the field, and he was a long time special teams star for the Redskins.
He ended up with 999 tackles, 43.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries, four touchdowns and three Super Bowl rings in four Super Bowl appearances.
When he retired, his 215 games as a Redskin were the most ever until Darrell Green passed him. Coleman's stats are very impressive, especially if you consider he never played football until college.
What separated him from most, and had him a beloved member of the team, was his leadership both on and off the field. Monte Coleman is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins, and deservedly so.
Roy Green is one of the greatest Cardinals ever.
He was drafted by the Saint Louis Cardinals in the fourth round of the 1979 draft.
He was used on both sides of the ball early in his career as a wide receiver and free safety. He was used as a return specialist his first two seasons as well.
He returned 41 kickoffs for an NFL-leading 1,005 yards in his rookie year. He took one back for a Cardinals record 106 yards. He also caught a 15 yard pass.
The next year, he returned punts as well and had a career best 16 returns for 168 yards. He also scored on a 57-yard return.
Playing exclusively as a free safety, he intercepted his first pass. In 1981, he had a career high three interceptions for 44 yards, the last interceptions of his career. Green also caught 33 passes for 708 yards and four touchdowns.
His 21.5 yards per catch average were a career high. Green also had three rushing attempts for 60 yards, while scoring on a 44-yard jaunt.
In the strike-shortened 1982 season, Roy had 32 catches. Playing now just at wide receiver, he broke out in 1983. He had a career best 78 receptions for 1,227 yards. He led the NFL with a career best 14 touchdown receptions while making his first Pro Bowl team.
He matched his reception total the following year, while leading the NFL with career bests of 1,555 yards and 97.2 yards per game. He also had 12 touchdowns while making his last Pro Bowl team.
He battled injuries over the next three years, missing 12 games total. He had 135 receptions and 15 touchdowns over that span.
In 1988, the Cardinals moved to Phoenix, and Green had 68 receptions for 1,097 yards and seven touchdowns. He matched that touchdown total on 44 receptions, despite missing four games because of injuries the next year. The 1990 season was Roy's last healthy season in the NFL. He snagged 53 balls and scored the last 4 touchdowns of his career.
He was then traded to the Cleveland Browns after the 1990 season, but was released. He was then picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles. He caught 37 balls in 22 games the next two years, before retiring after the 1992 season.
Green was a special player. He had 559 career receptions, 69 touchdowns, a 16 yard per catch average, four interceptions, 20 fumble recoveries and 11,391 totals yards.
I am surprised the Cardinals allowed Anquan Boldin, or any Cardinal, to wear his number. It should have been retired.
His 522 receptions with the Cardinals ranks second in franchise history, and his 8,497 receiving yards and 66 receiving touchdowns rank first in Cardinals history.
Hilgenburg was a fourth round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in the 1964 draft. Playing mostly special teams, he started in nine of the 41 games he suited up for Detroit in his first three NFL seasons.
He was then traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 1968 season. The Steelers cut him in training camp, and the Minnesota Vikings claimed him off waivers.
Hilgenberg ended up starting seven of 14 games that year for the Vikings and would remain a starter at right outside linebacker until 1976. He picked off the first two passes of his career in 1970 and scored a touchdown off an interception in 1972.
In 1973, he scored a touchdown off of a fumble recovery, the last touchdown of his career. By 1977, he was a reserve and started just one game until he retired after the 1979 season at 37 years old.
Hilgenburg was an integral member of all four on the Vikings Super Bowl teams, and was considered on of the meanest players in the league on the field.
His daughter would be named Miss Minnesota Teen USA in 1998. He then became ill with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and passed away in 2008. Hilgenberg may not have gotten the headlines that the Purple People Eaters front four did, but his impact from the strong side OLB slot was vital to the teams extraordinary success.
He was also known as a practical joker off of the field.
Before the Vikings played the Steelers in Super Bowl IX, Howard Cosell was interviewing Hall Of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton at the team's hotel. Hilgenburg was on a balcony with teammates a few floors above them and dumped a bucket of water on Cosell.
His passing away has saddened many, but the memories he made will live on.
Conerly was a 13th round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in the 1945 draft but decided to attend the University of Mississippi.
He ended up being the Player of the Year and Back of the Year of the SEC in 1947, when he led Ole Miss to their first SEC title. He was also an All-American and the 1947 Player of the Year by the Helms Athletic Foundation.
Conerly is a member of the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, the Ole Miss Team of the Century and the College Football Hall of Fame. The Conerly Trophy is given annually to the top college player in the State of Mississippi.
At 27 years old, he joined the New York Giants in 1948 and started immediately. He was the 1948 NFL Rookie of the Year when he tossed 22 touchdown passes and ran for five more.
He was named to his first Pro Bowl team in 1950, despite starting in just eight of the 11 games he played.
Conerly led the Giants to three NFL Championship games between 1956 to 1959. The Giants won the 1956 NFL Championship by blowing out the Chicago Bears 47-7, as Conerly tossed two touchdown passes. He would be named to his last Pro Bowl team that year.
He was the NFL MVP in the 1959 season. He led the Giants to the championship against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts in what some termed the "Greatest Game Ever".
It was the game that put the NFL on the map and into the homes of most of America. He led the NFL in passer rating, yards gained per pass attempt, yards gained per pass completion and the lowest interception rate.
Conerly continued to start for the Giants until 1960. That year, he started eight of 12 games. In 1961, the Giants acquired the services of Hall of Fame Quarterback Y.A. Tittle.
Conerly, now 40, ended up starting four games, as the Giants would go on to lose to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Championship game. He retired after that.
He finished with 1,418 completions on 2,833 attempts for 19,488 yards. He tossed 173 touchdowns, had 167 interceptions and rushed for 10 TD's. Conerly also punted the ball 130 times for 5,062 yards, a 38.9 yards per punt average and even kicked four extra points.
The Giants have had several Hall of Fame Quarterbacks in their organization like Fran Tarkenton, Tittle, Arnie Herber and Benny Friedman.
Charlie Conerly led the Giants to their last championship win until they won Super Bowl XXI in 1986. His place as one of the best in franchise history is secure, and his No. 42 has been retired by the Giants.