Moving right along in our countdown to the Raiders 2015 season opener, we hit number 95. A number typically worn by either a defensive lineman or linebacker. Oddly, there are only two players in Raiders history to wear this number for more than one season with the team -- Austin Robbins (1994-95, 2000) and Kaelin Burnett (2012-13). No disrespect to either of those gentlemen, but the honor for best to wear that number must go to someone else. Someone whose single season in a Raiders jersey was outlasted by the spirit he left behind.
Who wore it best: LB Marquis Cooper
He was killed at sea in a tragic boating accident in 2009. The last jersey he ever wore in the NFL had a silver 95 on it. And his former teammates wore his number on their helmets in memoriam the following season.
Though he never technically suited up for the Raiders again, some believe he took the form of a pigeon during a game the season following his death and lined up on Special Teams one more time. At kick off, he flew downfield, along with the coverage team, and landed near where the tackle was made. The pigeon was dubbed ‘War pigeon', and its spirit honored the memory of Cooper. There are no great, legendary Raider players who wore this number so until a star steps up to stake their claim, the honor belongs to Coop.
Who's wearing it now: DE Benson Mayowa
This former undrafted free agent was signed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks just prior to last season. By midseason, he was starting in place of the injured Lamarr Woodley. In one six quarters at linebacker, Mayowa matched Woodley's total over six games as the starter (5 combined tackles, 3 solo). Mayowa played in all 16 games last season, totaling 14 tackles (9 solo) with 1.0 sacks and a pass defended.
The defensive end spot is still up for grabs with Mayowa's main competition coming from rookie Max Valles.