Aw, yeah. In our countdown to the Raiders season opener, we've reached everyone's favorite number - 69. Well, unless you look at the Raiders to have worn the number, at which point you see it isn't quite as popular as you might think. Only four players in Raiders history have worn the number -- three of whom combined for a grand total of 16 games in a Raiders uniform. The other player is where we find our best to wear it.
Who wore it best/wearing it now: OL Khalif Barnes
The first number in our countdown to have the "who wore it best" and "who's wearing it now" be the same person. When Barnes signed with the Raiders back in 2009, he was looking for his second NFL contract after the former 2nd round pick spent the first four seasons of his career in Jacksonville. He was the full time starting left tackle for the Jaguars and was looking to continue land another long term deal as a left tackle elsewhere.
He initially left Oakland without a deal, but after speaking with several other teams, he came back and signed on for one year with the Raiders. He has now signed an unprecedented seven-straight one-year deals with the Raiders. He never got to be the fulltime starting left tackle as he had hoped, but they keep bringing him back to compete for a spot, and he keeps earning that spot.
After a couple of seasons struggling to transition from left tackle to right tackle, he had a couple of fine seasons there as the everyday starter. The last was in 2011 which was the Raiders last non-losing season. Over the past couple seasons he has bounced from right tackle to left tackle to left guard and back to right tackle.
Now 33 years old, he will try once again to defy his critics and show himself to be the best option either to start at one of the many positions which he could be called upon to step into, or as a valuable utility reserve.
So, believe it or not, Barnes becomes the first player to even be notable to have worn the number 69 for the Raiders. Making him easily the best to have worn it.
Interesting fact about Barnes is Jack Del Rio drafted Barnes in Jacksonville in 2005. Now ten years later, Del Rio is his head coach once again in what could be the tail end of Barnes' career. Talk about full circle.
By the way, the other guys to wear number 69 for the Raiders are Dan Ficca (14 games in 1962), John Zogg (1 game in 1987), and James Marten (1 game in 2008).