Chargers by the (Jersey) Numbers: #33

 
#33 is, appropriately enough, a 3-horse race – but it’s a good one.  Three running backs who meant a lot in Charger history.  Consider carefully before voting.


The Non Horses

Kevin Bouie, RB

Dana Brinson, RB

Gary Brown, RB

Dedrick Dodge, S

Fred Gillett, HB/OE

Kenny Graham, S

Blanche Martin, RB

David Martin, CB

Davis Sanchez, CB

Lucious Smith, CB

John Sullivan, SS

Ken Zachary, RB 

 

The Contenders

Don_woods_medium

Don Woods, RB

In 1974, the Chargers were in dire need of a running game (as well as a good head coach, and a quarterback, and a defense, and a fan base).  Along came an unknown rookie by the name of Don Woods. 

 

Woods was drafted by the Packers, but cut before the season began.  Looking for warm bodies to hand the ball to, the Bolts snatched him up.  Woods didn’t even play until the third game of the season, but when he did, he started racking up 100 yard games -- 7 in a row – on his way to NFL Rookie of the Year honors and the team’s first 1000-yard rusher since Paul Lowe (not counting 1972 when Mike Garrett rushed for over a 1000 yards while averaging less than 4 yards a carry).  And it was another 7 years before another Charger would cross the coveted 1000 yard mark.

 

The key question then is: what happened??  Woods actually remained with the team until 1980, but injuries that set in in 1975 limited his productivity.  He never rushed for more than 515 yards in a season again.

 

Michael_turner_medium

Michael Turner, RB

In contrast to Woods, "Burner" was actually drafted by the Chargers, but his likelihood of ever becoming the featured back was limited.  Heck, it was even a longshot that he’d even make the team!

 

Turner’s stats as a Charger aren’t much to shout about (although the 5.5 yards a carry over his four years is pretty terrific), but any fan of the team over the last 5 years knows what his value was: occasionally spelling LT and making a habit of killing the Colts.

 

For me, what will keep my vote away from Turner is the fact that he couldn’t shine when the stage was the brightest.

 

Ronnie_harmon_medium

Ronnie Harmon, RB

Harmon as well was more relegated to "back up," but he served such a vital role on the teams of the early ‘90s – including the Super Bowl team – that the term "3rd down back" became a mainstay to the team’s vernacular, and his 1149 all-purpose yards actually got him selected to the Pro Bowl in 1992.

 

Unlike Turner, Harmon had little problem shining on the bright stage, as he led the team in receptions in Super Bowl XXIX, and made one of the more memorable fumble recoveries in Charger history in a playoff victory in 1992.  Plus, who could ever forget the lick he laid on a showboating Deion Sanders in the Super Bowl?

 

Anyway, you decide.

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