Harold Carmichael had to wait almost 30 years to get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Centennial Class and the now the lengthy 6-foot-8 former receiver has to wait a little longer for his induction ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Carmichael doesn’t have to wait for his is his status as the top No. 17 in Eagles history as our jersey countdown to kickoff rolls on.
Carmichael, a Southern University product, played with the Eagles from 1971-83 developing from a seventh-round draft pick to a four-time Pro Bowl and three-time All-Pro wideout who once held the NFL record with at least one reception in 127 consecutive games during an era where the passing game wasn’t as nearly as prevalent.
He led the NFL in receptions and receiving yardage in 1973 with 67 catches for 1,116 yards and was a member of the 1970s All-Decade team. That was the start of a decade (1973-1983) in which Carmichael led all NFL receivers in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
When he finished his career in 1984, Carmichael ranked sixth on the NFL's all-time receptions list with 590 and he is still the Eagles' career leader in both receptions (589), yards (8,978), and touchdowns (79), although Zach Ertz is bearing down on the reception record with 525 heading into the 2020 season and the tight end’s low-water mark over the past five seasons is 74 receptions.
Holding that record for over 35 years is still something else, however.
Carmichael was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame in 1987 and is also a member of the organization’s 75th Anniversary Team as well.
Current Number 17 and No. 2 Overall:
Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery may not be the most popular Eagles player right now but he paid dividends as a prove-it free agent signing in 2017 when he was the top receiver on the Super Bowl LII team despite playing with a torn rotator cuff.
Jeffery hauled in 57 receptions for 789 yards and nine touchdowns in the regular season and only amped things up in the playoffs, snaring five passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a 38–7 rout of Minnesota in the NFC Championship Game and then catching three passes for 73 yards and the first touchdown of the 41-33 win over New England.
A big-money extension came in December before the playoffs that season and Jeffery has remained the team’s top receiver when healthy. He caught 65 passes for 843 yards and six TDs in 2018 before last season was cut short after 10 games (43-490-4) with a Lisfranc injury.
Jeffery is still rehabbing that injury and Doug Pederson gave an update on Wednesday.
“He's working extremely hard,” the coach said. “He's doing his on-land running. We've increased that. He's looking really good. He's feeling really good. And we're hoping to get him out there soon with the team at some point here in the near future.
“I've been impressed with his workout, with his treatment, with his rehab, and we'll see here in the next couple of weeks.”
Top 3 to wear number 17:
3. Nelson Agholor. Agholor wore No. 17 for his first two seasons in Philadelphia before Jeffery arrived in 2017 and he switched to No. 13. Ultimately a disappointment as a 2015 first-round pick out of Southern Cal, Agholor caught 59 passes over his two seasons while wearing the number.
2. Alshon Jeffery. See Above.
1. Harold Carmichael. See Above.
Runner-up: Jerry Reichow. Reichow sent nine years in the NFL and was a member of the 1960 Eagles NFL Championship Team. He’s perhaps best known as a long-time executive with the Vikings, however, spending 59 years with the organization as a player and personnel executive, one of the longest-serving employees in NFL history. He retired after the 2019 season.
Others: James Russell, Ebert Van Buren, Fred Enke, Ralph Guglielmi, Taft Reed, Mitch Berger, Freddie Solomon, Lonny Calicchio, and Arrelious Benn.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SportMap Radio. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Get the latest Eagles news by joining the community. Click "Follow" at the top right of EagleMaven page. Mobile users click the notification bell. And please follow @kracze on Twitter