Jacques Cesaire, DE
Chris Gambol, T
Eric Jonassen, T
Jim Lachey, T
Brett Miller, T
Raleigh Roundtree, T
Dave Rowe, DT
As we get ready to start another Charger season, the Golden Jersey committee finds itself embroiled in one our toughest battles.
We considered putting it to a vote, but ultimately we determined that a vote for one is a vote AGAINST the other. And with two players who meant so much to this franchise, we just couldn’t subject you to that. (We’re such a compassionate bunch.)
This isn’t the first time GJ committee has been subjected to choosing between two icons! Since football teams are limited to two-digit numbers to divvy up among so many, sometimes great players share numbers – even though it SHOULD HAVE been retired. And no other number on the Chargers is more evident of that than #74.
Louie Kelcher, DT
If ever a guy defined “heart and soul” of a team, it was Louie. Louie was a big dude – even by today’s standards – and he occupied the middle of the Chargers’ defensive line for 9 seasons (although most of one was spent injured). He was selected to three Pro Bowls, and helped lift the defense to the top of the rankings, the team to the playoffs, and Rolf Benirshke to, well, him he just lifted.
Ultimately, Louie faded to obscurity as the defense as a whole suffered and injuries took their toll. It’s hard to say exactly what his NFL legacy is since we’ll never know how many sacks he had, and it’s doubtful he’ll ever make the Hall of Fame. But certainly in the hearts of all Charger fans, his legacy was cemented a long time ago.
Ron Mix, T
I think the only reason Mix’s number wasn’t retired was because he finished his career with the Raiders. In the words of Nancy Kerrigan: “Why?! WHY?!? WHY?!?”
But speaking of “heart and soul,” it doesn’t get much better than Mix. For some odd reason, Mix was not selected to the AFL Pro Bowl game his rookie season in 1960. I say odd because he was selected to the team EVERY YEAR AFTER THAT, until 1969 when injuries cut his season in half and essentially ended his career (except for that misguided stint with the Raiders).
There was no question about what Mix brought to the table. His teammates knew it, his opponents knew it, and eventually the Hall of Fame committee figured it out by inducting him in 1979. And now, arguably even more importantly, the GJ committee has figured it out by awarding him the Golden Jersey for #74.