No. 91 Means Fletcher Cox in Eagles' Lore
It’s now just over three months 91 days (hopefully) until the Eagles open the season in Landover, Md., against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 13.
From now until then, at SI.com EagleMaven will do a jersey countdown, listing the current Eagles player to wear the corresponding number to the days left before the season opener. As a bonus feature, we will list the top three players in team history to have that number.
Current Number 91 and No. 1:
Fletcher Cox. The big man from Yazoo City has developed into one of the best defensive linemen in franchise history after being selected No. 12 overall out of Southern Mississippi in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Over the ensuing eight seasons, Cox has been a Pro Bowl selection five times and more importantly either a first- or second-team All-Pro selection on four occasions. He was perhaps the best pure football player on the only Super Bowl-winning team in Eagles history and was honored by the league as a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team. The next step might be Canton with a few more All Pro-level seasons.
Right now Cox is in the conversation as perhaps the second-best defensive tackle in the NFL behind only the other-worldly Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
Cox is coming off a bit of a “down season” in 2019 stemming from a foot injury in the playoff against New Orleans in January of 2019. Ensuing surgery robbed Cox of an offseason and he basically showed up Week 1 and slowly ramped things up from there become his dominant self by late in the campaign.
In the first virtual offseason, Cox has been working out at his Texas home and recently invited other members of the defensive line to participate. From a distance, Cox looks in the best shape of his life and his presence, along with free-agent acquisition Javon Hargrave and the returning Malik Jackson, give Jim Schwartz and new DL coach Matt Burke one of the most talented interiors in the NFL.
The top 3 in team history to wear number 91:
3. Tie - Sam Rayburn/Chris Clemons. A lunch-pail player and a solid edge rusher.
Rayburn cracked the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Tulsa prior to the 2003 season. He ended up playing in 53 games over the next four seasons as a serviceable member of the defensive line rotation, plugging up the middle with 65 tackles and also putting together enough of a push for nine sacks.
Clemons was a more-than-sold NFL player sticking around for over a decade after entering the league undrafted out of Georgia. Only two of his seasons came with the Eagles (2008-2009) but he played in all 32 games as a situational rusher and seven of his 69 career sacks came with the Birds,
2. Andy Harmon. It wasn’t a long run but it was a productive one for Harmon in Philadelphia. A sixth-round pick out of Kent State in 1991, by his sophomore season in the pros, Harmon had developed into a starter at defensive tackle and was one of the best interior pass rushers in the league over the next four seasons with impressive consistency. From 1992 to 1995 Harmon’s sack totals were 7.0, 11.5, 9.0, and 11.0 and he topped out as a second-team All-Pro in 1995.
1. See Above.
Reggie White. Yep, along with being the best No. 92 in team history, a Hall of Famer and perhaps the most talented player ever to play for the franchise White gets a mention here as well because he started with No. 91 before quickly moving on.
White joined the Eagles in Week 4 of the 1985 season after completing a full spring season as the best defensive lineman in the USFL with the Memphis Showboats. When he arrived the great (named at least) Smiley Creswell was wearing 92.
Others: Tim Golden, Ray Conlin, George Cumby, Scott Curtis, Greg Mark, Steve Martin, Uhuru Hamiter, Ian Scott, Darryl Tapp, Trevor Laws.
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 SBNation Radio. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen