You know, I suppose if you choose not to retire a number, the best thing that can happen is that it goes on to suit others well. And no other number is as indicative of that adage as #70.
In fact, I would argue (without doing a lick of research) that no other number was worn so consistently by good players. Once our winner donned it for 15 seasons, no one after him wore it for less than 4 seasons (until its current owner), and each wore it with distinction.
The #70 timeline, A.R. (After Russ):
- 86-89 James FitzPatrick
- 90-93 Mike Zandofsky
- 94-03 Vaughn Parker
- 04-07 Shane Olivea
Each of these guys spent the bulk of at least one season starting on the OLine, and Parker and Olivea were key cogs on championship-caliber teams. They did the number proud. Let’s hope Alfonso Boone keeps up the tradition.
The Winner and Still Champion
Russ Washington, T
But of course, none of these guys holds a candle to Washington. Washington was the only player to bridge the gap between Gillman and Coryell – but oddly enough, his Gillman days were spent as a Defensive Tackle.
When Washington made the switch to the OLine, he became pure legend, making the Pro Bowl 5 times, and earning his way in to the Chargers Hall of Fame and on to the "50 Greatest Chargers" list.