Who are the best defensive ends in the history of the Raiders? In part two, we take a look at the franchise immortals, the Raiders who started and ended their careers with the Silver and Black. The true fear-mongers who did it longer and better than all the rest.
Raiders For Life
Here is my top three list of the Raiders long term greatest defensive ends. All of these men were fearsome competitors and terrorized the AFC West as well as the NFL for years.
Greg Townsend 1983-1997
It’s possible casual Raiders fan are unaware that Townsend is the Raiders all-time sacks leader with 107.5. He spent all but the last four years of his career playing with the great Howie Long. While Long gets all the accolades, it was Townsend who was statistically superior.
A two time Pro Bowler, Townsend played 174 games for the Raiders. Also, he won a Super Bowl in Los Angeles as a rookie and finished his career in Oakland. As a player, versatility described Townsend to a “T.” Sliding up and down the line, he played all four positions throughout his career defensive end, defensive tackle, nose tackle and back to end.
Furthermore, Townsend had the most forced fumbles in the franchise with 13. That was until the great Charles Woodson broke his record with 18, and tied for second in safeties with two, behind Ted Hendricks’ three. Likewise, Townsend picked off three passes in his career, returning one for an 86-yard touchdown. Three of his forced fumbles were recovered and converted into scores.
Related Articles: Raiders Great Defensive Ends Part 1
Howie Long 1981-1993
Long is a gold jacket wearing Hall of Famer, an eight-time Pro-Bowler, a two-time All-Pro, and the essence of what owner Al Davis was looking for in Raider players. He inspired fear in the opposition and was relentless in his pursuit of the whomever had the football.
Any list of Raiders defensive ends which doesn’t have Long as number one should be expected to be questioned. Only, when you look at the numbers it really isn’t.
Long played in 179 games for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders. In his career, he totaled 84 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries, and two interceptions. Long was the heart and soul of the defense in the Raiders 1983 Super Bowl season. Whenever you talk about the Mount Rushmore of famous Raiders defenders, you immediately think of Long’s name in one of those top four spots.
Anthony Smith 1991-1997
Smith was destined for great things as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders. Drafted with the 11th pick in the 1990 draft, he was everything the team wanted. He was a monster at the edge posting, 10.5 sacks as a rookie, 13 in his sophomore season, and 12.5 in his third year.
Smith would excel in his time in L.A, yet decided to retire rather than play in Oakland. Smith would finish his 98 game career with 57.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, and one touchdown.
Sadly, Smith will always be remembered for his actions off the field rather than on. One thing is for certain, Smith was a menace to his opposition.
Before we wrap up, we must take a second to recognize the greats who did not make either of the two cuts. The Lance Johnstones, Lyle Alzados, Justin Tucks, Richard Seymours and Lamarr Houstons. They all are every bit a part of Raider Nation history. These men donned the Silver and Black with pride and produced to the delight of all the fans.
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