Greatest Eagle to Wear 82 was an Easy Choice

As great as former WR Mike Quick, there are others who also wore the number 82 well
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There was a brief moment when it looked like Chris T. Jones was going to become a pivotal part of the Eagles’ offense for a decade or so.

The receiver was drafted in the third round (78 overall) in 1995 and in just his second season he looked to have it all figured out when he caught 70 passes for 869 yards and five touchdowns in 16 starts.

Knee injuries wrecked Jones’ career, however. He played just four games in his third year of 1997 and was released. Jones signed with the Raiders but could never make it back.

Jones wore No. 82 with the Eagles, and that is where we arrive with our jersey countdown to kickoff, which means there are 82 days until the Eagles are scheduled to open their regular season on Sept. 13 against the Washington Redskins.

And that means it is time for our top three rankings to ever wear the No. 82 in team history.

Current number 82:

John Hightower. The rookie fifth-round pick was issued this number a couple of weeks after the draft. It had been worn previously by tight end Richard Rodgers, who has moved on. When you see the rankings, you will see that Hightower will really need a special kind of career to unseat one of the following three.

Top 3 to wear No. 82:

3. LJ Smith: After being drafted in the second round (61 overall) out of Rutgers in the 2003 draft, Smith was worked into a two tight end set during his second season with Chad Lewis by head coach Andy Reid and responded with 34 catches for 377 yards and five touchdowns.

Smith also had a terrific postseason that year, grabbing nine passes for 100 yards with his one touchdown coming in Super Bowl XXXIX on a terrific catch at the back of the end zone against the New England Patriots.

Played seven seasons with Philly, including the final year on the franchise tag. Injuries, however, derailed his career after he signed with the Ravens in 2009.

2. Tim Rossovich: The 14 pick overall in the 1968 draft, the linebacker/defensive end from USC earned a Pro Bowl spot in his second year. Rossovich started 48 games and had six fumble recoveries and one interception.

He ended up signing with the Philadelphia Bell in the World Football League in 1974 and remained with them until the league folded in 1975 when he turned to acting. He had several roles on TV and in movies, with his biggest being in Sting II and with Michael Keaton in Night Shift.

1. Mike Quick: Easy choice here. One of the Eagles’ all-time great receivers. After a rookie season that saw him play just nine games as the No. 20 overall pick out of North Carolina State in 1982, Quick had a breakout second season with 69 catches for 1,409 yards and 13 touchdowns.

That yardage total is still a team record. Quick, though, is all over the Eagles’ all-time record books. His 13 TDs that year are tied for second-most in a season with Tommy McDonald, who did it twice, and one behind Terrell Owens, who had 14 in 2004.

A strong case could be made that this number should be retired in Quick’s name since he remains third in team history in career yards (6,464) and tied for career touchdowns (61).

Runner-up:

Torrey Smith. The receiver spent only one season in Philly, but he was a key member of the 2017 Super Bowl championship team and contributed some big catches throughout the season, especially in the postseason.

His catch off a long ricochet of a Nick Foles pass off the knee of Atlanta’s Keanu Neal led to an Eagles’ field goal as the first half expired to give the Eagles some momentum in a hard-fought win in the divisional round of the 2017 playoffs and his catch on a flea-flicker pass to open the second half in the NFC Championship Game a week later turned that game into a rout.

Others:

Robert Krieger, Bill Combs, Bill Hewitt, Milton Smith, Rudy Smeja, Danny DiRenzo, Joe Restic, Tom Scott, George Tarasovic, Bob Picard, Ken Payne, Jerrold McRae, Mickey Shuler, Victor Bailey, Chris T. Jones, Karl Hankton, Dameane Douglas, Alex Smith, Clay Harbor, Emil Igwenagu, Torrey Smith, and Richard Rodgers.