We keep it going, working out way through the 70s in our countdown to the Raiders 2015 season opener with number 77. For the best to wear this number we switch to the defensive line and one of the most flamboyant characters in Raiders history. Also one of the more tragic.
Who wore it best: DE Lyle Alzado (1982-85)
He joined the Raiders in 1982 at the tail end of an already long NFL career including the first eight years with the Denver Broncos. His first season with the Raiders was their first in Los Angeles. It was also the year the league began officially recording sacks.
When Alzado arrived in LA, he was 33 years old and just a season removed from being named All Pro with the Cleveland Browns. In his second season with the Raiders, he got his first and only Super Bowl ring. He finished with 24 sacks in 4 seasons and retired a Raider.
In 1992, just 7 years after his NFL career ended, he died of a brain cancer at the age of 43. In the last years of his life, he became an outspoken voice against the use of steroids among athletes as he said it broke down his body, though they never found any connection between the steroids and the cancer.
Who's wearing it now: OT Austin Howard
Howard was the top free agent signing by the Raiders last offseason. He had worked with Tony Sparano with the Jets where Sparano saw his strength was run blocking and brought him to Oakland to play guard. The 6-7, 333-pound lineman was signed to a lucrative long term deal as the answer at the right guard spot. It turned out not to be quite the answer the Raiders were looking for.
Sparano eventually took over as interim head coach for the final 12 games last season, after which he and his staff was fired. With Jack Del Rio on board, he and new Oline coach Mike Tice opted to move Howard back to right tackle where he had played the first four years of his NFL career.
Right now, Howard is embroiled in a tough competition with third year right tackle Menelik Watson for the starting job. As of minicamps, Watson was leading the way in that competition and Howard will have to prove is indeed a better tackle than he is a guard.