clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Raiders Countdown to Kickoff: 53: Who wore it best, who's wearing it now

New, comments
George Rose/Getty Images

We are now at 53 days until the Raiders 2015 season opener. And as we have done for the past 46 days, we detail the best to wear the corresponding jersey number. The number 53 goes to a true Super Bowl hero.

Who wore it best: LB Rod Martin (1977-88)

As the Raiders 12th round pick in 1977, he was one of the biggest draft steals in franchise history. He just missed out on being part of the 76 Super Bowl squad, but he was a big part of the next two Super Bowls. His claim to fame came in Super Bowl XV when he intercepted Eagles QB Ron Jaworski three times and the Raiders ran away with their second Lombardi Trophy.

Martin played every game of his 12-year career NFL with the Raiders and was an everyday starting outside linebacker for a full decade from 1979-88. During that time he went to two Pro Bowls and was named All Pro once.

Who's wearing it now: LB  Malcolm Smith

Speaking of Super Bowl heroes, just two years ago, Malcolm Smith was a Super Bowl MVP when he intercepted Peyton Manning and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown to help the Seahawks take out the Broncos and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Smith's linebackers coach in Seattle, and at USC before that, was Ken Norton Jr, who Jack Del Rio hired as his new defensive coordinator. With Norton on board, he wanted his former starting linebacker to come along with him. Smith was among the team's first free agent signees this offseason.

The 4-year veteran linebacker provides solid depth and a great option as a starter at either outside linebacker position. He is expected to see a lot of playing time in 3-4 sets and in rotation with starters Khalil Mack and Sio Moore.