Today we hit 55 days until the Raiders season opener. And, of course, that means we look at the best to ever wear the number 55 for the Raiders.
Who wore it best: LB Matt Millen
A second round pick out of ‘Linebacker U' Penn State, Millen exploded onto the scene to start every game as a rookie in 1980. He was immediately a major factor to help the Raiders go from wildcard to winning Super Bowl XV.
The fiery defender would terrorize and bewilder opposing quarterbacks for nine seasons as an everyday starting inside linebacker spot. In 1983, he would help lead the Raiders to another Super Bowl championship. In that playoff run, he had an interception in the AFC Championship game and a sack in the Super Bowl.
He went to his only Pro Bowl in 1988 which was his final season with the Raiders. Then he headed to San Francisco in 1989 and picked up his third Super Bowl ring with the 49ers in a decisive 55-10 dismantling of John Elway and the Broncos.
Two years later, Millen went to Washington and for the third time in three teams, he would win a Super Bowl in his first season with the team. Three teams, four rings. Either he was just THAT good, or he was just incredibly lucky. Perhaps a bit of both. That was also his final NFL team as he would retire after one season in Washington.
Following his playing career, he was in broadcasting for many years before becoming the Lions CEO in 2001. He spent seven years on the job which were some of the worst in Lions' franchise history. So, I guess we can rule out his being a good luck charm.
Who's wearing it now: LB Sio Moore
Speaking of fiery presences, Sio Moore. The third year linebacker is pretty much perpetually turnt. He was chosen by the team in the third round of the 2013 draft at which point he immediately said he was the best linebacker in that draft and has never backed down from that statement. He has shown plenty of potential to make a case for himself in his first two seasons in the NFL, though some polish is needed.
Late last season, he went down with a hip injury and had offseason surgery to fix it. He participated on a limited basis in minicamp and is expected to return full by training camp. Once he returns, he is expected to resume reps as the first team weakside linebacker and incumbent starter.
If Sio can take all that energy and potential he has and channel it, look out. He and Khalil Mack could make for a potent duo at the Raiders outside linebacker spots.