Only 10 players have worn the No. 48 in Eagles history, and there is no debate whatsoever who the top-ranked player is to have worn it.
That would be Wes Hopkins.
Even now, there are fans who wear his No. 48 in the old kelly green colors to the team’s home games, despite Hopkins retiring following the 1993 season.
There are others who slot in behind Hopkins in the rankings – way behind the former safety – but No. 48 clearly belongs to the former 35th overall pick in the 1983 draft from SMU.
Hopkins spent his entire 11-year career in Philadelphia, though he missed the 1987 season with a terrible knee injury.
In 1988, he was voted the Eagles' Ed Block Courage Award winner.
As part of the Eagles vaunted "Gang Green" defense, the safety tandem of Hopkins and strong safety Andre Waters lasted from 1986-1993, with Buddy Ryan as head coach from 1986-1990, Hopkins and Waters were considered one of the hardest hitting and most feared safety duos in the NFL.
Waters committed suicide at the age of 44 and Hopkins passed away in Sept. 2018 at the age of 57.
He finished his career with 30 interceptions, 12 sacks, and one touchdown. In 1985, he was first-team All-Pro with six interceptions.
After Hopkins' passing, team owner Jeffrey Lurie released this statement:
"Wes Hopkins is one of the best safeties in the history of our franchise and played a major role in the team's success during his time here in Philadelphia. He was well-respected among his teammates and coaches, not only because of the way he played the game and what he was able to accomplish on the field but also because of the way he carried himself and the type of leader he was.
"He had a genuine love of the game and that's one of the reasons he connected so well with the people of Philadelphia. Wes will be forever remembered as an Eagles Legend and somebody who helped build the foundation for our organization's success. Our thoughts are with his family during this time."
There is no current Eagles player with the number, though all the team’s undrafted free agents have yet to be assigned a number.
Here are the next two behind Hopkins to wear No. 48:
2. Jon Ritchie. As a fullback, Ritchie carried the ball just 15 times, including only once in two seasons and 19 games with the Eagles in the final two seasons of his seven-year career. Though Ritchie had 150 catches for 1,148 yards and seven touchdowns, he built his reputation with a blue-collar toughness that endures him to Eagles fans still to this day and made a successful transition into a popular radio talk show personality in Philadelphia.
Originally drafted in the third round of the 1998 draft by the Oakland Raiders, Ritchie became an Eagle as a free agent in 2003 and helped open holes for running backs Brian Westbrook, Duce Staley and Correl Buckhalter, and even quarterback Donovan McNabb. That group combined to run for 2,015 yards and 23 touchdowns behind Ritchie that season.
3. Ben Scotti. The defensive back played for the Eagles in 1962 and 1963, starting all 23 of the games he played, making five interceptions in those 23 games.
Eberle Schultz, Jay Johnson, Greg Oliver, Martin Mitchell, Steve Hendrickson, Andre President, and Josh Hawkins.
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