Can you believe it's just five days away? Real football that means something in as man days as you can count on your fingers. And as it has happened since we got into the single digit numbers, the list of players to have worn that number is also in the single digits. Number 5 had eight players sport it, but only three of them for more than one season.
Who wore it best: QB Kerry Collins (2004-05)
When Collins signed on with the Raiders as a free agent from the Giants, the former 5th overall draft pick had already been to a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl. He was also just a couple seasons removed from throwing for over 4000 yards. The Raiders were just a season removed from having been to the Super Bowl themselves and had a former league MVP at quarterback in Rich Gannon who threw for nearly 4700 yards that season.
Gannon would last just 7 games the following season and the Raiders brought in Collins as an insurance plan. That quickly turned out to be a wise investment when Gannon went down with what turned out to be a career-ending injury in week three and Collins was once again a starting NFL quarterback.
Over two seasons, Collins started all 28 starts with the Raiders. In that time he threw for 7254 yards with 41 touchdowns to 32 interceptions. The Raiders decided to move on from him after that, opting for free agent addition Aaron Brooks and then former third round pick Andrew Walter instead. It was the beginning of a long string of terrible decisions the Raiders made at the quarterback position.
As for Collins, he would play for six more seasons, five of which with the Titans where he would make another trip to the Pro Bowl, with the Titans going 12-3 under him, earning a berth in the playoffs. In total, Collins played 17 seasons in the NFL.
Who's wearing it now: No one
Who wore it last: QB Bruce Gradkowski (2009-10)
Bruce Almighty as he was often referred, was a folk hero of sorts in Oakland. The gritty backup who never seemed to properly get his due. Sports fans love guys like that. Gradkowski's savior status was multiplied being that he took over for colossal NFL bust, JaMarcus Russell. Gradkowski came in and won his very first start as a Raider, beating the Bengals 20-17. Two weeks later, he had a spectacular game to beat his hometown Steelers in Pittsburgh. A game in which he threw for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns to pull out the win 27-24.
Though he spent just two seasons in Oakland, starting a total of 8 games, his presence was far more significant. He helped pass the baton to Jason Campbell and the Raiders began to show some life at the quarterback position they hadn't had for a while. Gradkowski is still in the NFL, living a dream of suiting up for the Steelers the past couple seasons.