Welcome to the 10th and final installment of Sportscasting’s 10-part series, “The 101 Greatest NFL Players by Uniform Number.”
For those who haven’t been following along, what we’ve been doing here is just what the title suggests. As there have been 101 NFL seasons thus far and 101 different jersey numbers worn in that time (00, 0, 1-99), we’ve simply been naming the best player to wear each. Easy enough, right? If you’re just joining us or need a refresher on our selections from Nos. 00-89, here you go.
And here’s a look at the best NFL players to wear Nos. 90-99. Enjoy.
No. 90: Julius Peppers
Kicking off our last edition of the list is our selection at No. 90, defensive end Julius Peppers. Taken with the second overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft out of North Carolina, Peppers played 17 NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers. In those 17 seasons, he recorded 159.5 sacks, the fifth-most in NFL history, and was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All-Pro selection.
No. 91: Kevin Greene
Just ahead of Peppers on the NFL’s all-time sack list is our choice at No. 91, Kevin Greene, who played 15 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers. Greene, who played both defensive end and outside linebacker, recorded 160 career sacks, good for fourth on the all-time list, and was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro selection. He was also named 1996 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
No. 92: Reggie White
Seen by many as the greatest defensive end in NFL history, Reggie White is our choice at No. 92. For those wondering, Michael Strahan was our second choice in this slot.
After starting his professional football career with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL, White began his NFL career in 1985 with the Philadelphia Eagles, for whom he played eight seasons before playing six years with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won a Super Bowl. He retired in 1999, but came back for one final season with the Carolina Panthers in 2000.
In 15 seasons, White racked up 198 career sacks, just two behind Bruce Smith for the most in NFL history. He was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time sack leader, a 13-time Pro Bowler, and a 13-time All-Pro selection.
No. 93: John Randle
Our choice at No. 93 is the only Hall of Famer to ever wear the number, legendary defensive tackle John Randle. Undrafted in 1990 out of Texas A&M-Kingsville, Randle first tried out for his older brother Ervin’s team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was thought to be too small to play defensive line in the NFL at 6-feet-1-inch and 244 pounds and wasn’t offered a contract.
Soon after, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, with whom he played 11 seasons and was a six-time Pro Bowler and a six-time All-Pro selection. He was selected to a seventh Pro Bowl following the 2001 season as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, with whom he played the final three years of his career.
No. 94: DeMarcus Ware
The No. 94 slot was one of the toughest choices we had to make on this portion of the list. On one hand, we had two-time All-Pro Charles Haley, who won five Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys. But on the other, we had DeMarcus Ware, who may have one just the one Super Bowl, but was the overall better player in our eyes.
Taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of Troy, Lawrence spent the first nine years of his career with the Cowboys and the last three with the Denver Broncos. In a dozen NFL seasons, he recorded 138.5 sacks, good for 13th on the all-time list, and was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a seven-time All-Pro selection.
No. 95: Richard Dent
Just behind Ware on the all-time sack list is our choice at No. 95, Richard Dent, who played 12 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears, with whom he won Super Bowl 20 MVP as part of Buddy Ryan’s vaunted “46” defense. Dent also won a Super Bowl in his lone season with the San Francisco 49ers. He also played one year each with the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.
In 15 seasons, Dent recorded 137.5 sacks, tied with John Randle for the 14th-most in NFL history. He was a four-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro selection.
No. 96: Cortez Kennedy
One of just two players in the Hall of Fame to ever wear the number, Cortez Kennedy is our selection at No. 96. Kennedy, the third overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft out of Miami, spent his entire 11-year career with the Seattle Seahawks and sadly only made the postseason one time. In 1992, Seattle went just 2-14 but Kennedy had such a great season that he was still named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Over the course of his career, he was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro selection.
No. 97: Bryant Young
We considered La’Roi Glover for the No. 97 slot, but ultimately decided on defensive tackle/end Bryant Young, who played his entire 14-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, with whom he won a Super Bowl as a rookie following the 1994 NFL season. Young was a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro selection, and his 89.5 career sacks are the second-most in franchise history.
No. 98: Jessie Armstead
No. 98 was another tough call as we considered former Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton and longtime Indianapolis Colts defensive end/linebacker Robert Mathis. In the end, however, we went with linebacker Jessie Armstead, who played nine of his 11 NFL seasons with the New York Giants. He played his final two years in Washington. Armstead, the 207th pick in the 1993 NFL Draft out of Miami, was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro selection.
No. 99: Warren Sapp
When all is said and done, J.J. Watt may end up in the No. 99 slot and we certainly came very close to putting him here already. But, for now, we chose to go with Warren Sapp, who played 13 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who he helped to a Super Bowl title, and the Oakland Raiders. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro selection, and was named 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
And there you have it, folks. At long last, our journey has come to an end and we thank you for coming along for the ride.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference