I must say the decision on the best to wear the number 42 was not an easy one. There were several potential candidates, but I had to settle on one. And in the spirit of the Raiders first day in pads in training camp, the man who I chose was one who was known for his heavy hitting and being one of the toughest players in the NFL.
Who wore it best: S Ronnie Lott
Though he spent just two seasons with the Raiders in 1991-92, the first of those seasons was a spectacular one. Though he was reaching the end of his long storied NFL career after ten seasons with the 49ers, he to the Raiders and showed he still had it. That season the 9-time Pro Bowler and 5-time All Pro free safety switched to strong safety and was again named All Pro.
He had 8 interceptions that season, which was the second most of his career. He also added 93 solo tackles. That was his final All Pro season in the NFL, though his second season with the Raiders he raised his solo tackle total to 103 with just one interception. He would play two more seasons with the Jets and then retire.
What Lott is probably most known for to this day was the time he got his finger crushed by an opponent's helmet and stayed in the game. Later the tip of that finger would need to be removed. It's that attitude that had him as one of the best players on a 49ers team that won four Super Bowls. And it also made him a perfect Raider. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Who's wearing it now: S Larry Asante
Another guy who prides himself on being a hard hitter, he joined the Raiders as a free agent midway through last season. He appeared in six games, starting two. He was released late in the season, but the team brought him back this offseason to compete for a roster spot in training camp. He currently is the primary backup to Charles Woodson at strong safety.