Three Eagles WRs who Wore No. 80 are Among NFL's Top 20
It needs to be said right at the top: this is a football list.
There are no morality clauses that exclude somebody from landing in the top three of our rankings as we continue our journey to identify the top three players to have worn an Eagles uniform number that corresponds with the number of days that remain until Philly opens its regular season.
That opening is Sept. 13, which is 80 days away, and that means No. 80 gets put to the test.
While our top-ranked player to wear the number would not make the top 10 for person of the year, he was one heckuva football player and, if not for his off-field transgressions, could very well be in the Hall of Fame.
Our second-ranked player is in the Hall of Fame, but his career was made mostly with the Vikings after he overcame off-the-field issues:
Here we go:
Current number 80:
Quez Watkins. The receiver ran one of the fastest times at the Combine in the 40, clocking a 4.35. The Eagles drafted him in the sixth round (No. 200 overall). He will have to hit the ground running – and it helps he’s fast – in order to find a spot on the final roster because the Eagles have stocked the cupboard this offseason with receivers.
To 3 to wear number 80:
James Thrash. Thrash did not have the most flattering nickname to some Eagles fans (just drop the first ‘h’ from his last name and you’ll know what it was), but Thrash put up some good numbers from 2001-04 for the Eagles, with 164 catches, 2,026 yards, and 15 touchdowns. He played 12 seasons in the NFL and had 22 career TDs.
Cris Carter. All the receiver did was catch touchdowns, according to then-coach Buddy Ryan. In three years with the Eagles, after he was taken in the fourth round of the 1987 supplemental draft, he had 89 receptions, 19 went for touchdowns.
Carter’s story has been told dozens of times, about how Ryan had to release him in order for him to get his life together after Carter struggled off the field with what Carter later admitted to being heavy alcohol and drug abuse.
Carter turned his life and he is in the Hall of Fame. His 13,899 yards receiving ranks 13th on the NFL’s all-time list.
Irving Fryar. The Eagles were Fryar’s third team, and he didn’t get to Philly until he was already 34. Still, he played three seasons and showed no signs of slowing down, recording seasons of 88 catches-1,195 yards-14 touchdowns in his first season then followed that up with 86-1,311-6 and 48-566-2.
Fryar is still 20th on the NFL’s all-time yards receiving list with 12,785 and he played for 17 years. He also holds the league record for touchdowns from 19 different passers, was the first to record a touchdown in 17 straight seasons until Jerry Rice broke it, and is the oldest player – at 34 years, 22 days – to catch four touchdowns in one game.
Trouble is, the trouble.
He missed the 1985 AFC title game after injuring his hand in a domestic dispute with his wife and he was arrested in 1988 on weapons charges.
In 2015, Fryar and his mother, Allene McGhee, were found guilty of conspiring to defraud six banks and a mortgage company by a New Jersey Superior Court jury. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was released in June of 2016 after serving just eight months.
James Lofton. It’s a reach to include him here, but, even though he had a small cup of coffee with the Eagles (nine games in his final NFL season of 1993), Lofton already had a Hall of Fame career mostly with the Packers and Bills. He is on this list because it is noteworthy that three former Eagles to wear No. 80 are in the top 20 in NFL history for receiving yards.
Joining Carter and Fryar, Lofton is 12th on the list with 14,004.
That means rookie Quez Watkins certainly has plenty to live up to.
Granville Harrison, Kirk Hershey, Fred Meyer, Leonard Supluski, Bert Kuczynski, Neill Armstrong, Bill Stribling, Gene Mitcham, Ken MacAfee, John Tracey, Ken Gregory, Gary Henson, Randy Beisler, Don Brumm, Clark Hoss, Don Zimmerman, Art Thoms, Luther Blue, Alvin Hooks, Byron Williams, Joe Hayes, Keith Baker, Bobby Duckworth, Marvin Hargrove, Rod Harris, Reggie Lawrence, James Lofton, Reggie Johnson, Torrance Small, Billy McMullen, Kevin Curtis, Ron Johnson, Markus Wheaton, and Jordan Matthews.