It's veteran training camp report day! Training camp begins today which means the preseason opener is just two weeks away. As for the season, it's -- you guessed it -- 45 days away. And that also means we take a look at who wore the number 45 in Silver & Black with the most distinction as well as who wears it now.
Who wore it best: DB Dave Grayson (1965-70)
Grayson spent the final six seasons of his ten-year NFL career with the Raiders. When he joined the Raiders in 1965, he was coming off an All AFL first team season with the Kansas City Chiefs. And in he made All AFL again in his first season with the Raiders. In total, he was named an AFL All Star five straight seasons from 1962-66 between the Dallas Texans/KC Chiefs and the Raiders. And in his third season in Oakland, the Raiders made the Super Bowl.
The ball hawking defensive back is the all-time AFL leader with 48 career interceptions, 29 of which came with the Raiders, including a career-high and league leading 10 interceptions in 1968. He never missed a game as a Raider with 84 regular season appearances and 8 playoff games.
By the time his career came to a close in 1970, Grayson had been named All AFL four times - three times with the Raiders - and was an AFL All Star six times - three times with the Raiders. He is a member of the AFL All-Time Team.
Who's wearing it now: FB Marcel Reece
Reece has been the Raiders only Pro Bowl player the past couple seasons. He has made the Pro Bowl the past three seasons as the team's dynamic fullback and offensive X-factor. He isn't your standard blocking fullback. He does most of his damage as a mismatch out of the backfield. His wide receiver background means he is tough for linebackers to match up with. If the defense tries to compensate by putting a corner or safety on him, they risk leaving a receiver open. So, you can see the dilemma.
He hasn't gotten as much attention as a weapon the Raiders offense in recent seasons as many think he should, but when he isn't presenting a receiving threat, he can also help protect the quarterback, clear a lane as a run blocker, or take the ball in the backfield and run it himself. That kind of versatility can be difficult to come by in a league with pretty rigid roles at each position. It requires a creative offensive mind the likes of which the Raiders haven't had since Hue Jackson. Now it's Bill Musgrave who will give it a shot.