Hard to believe were in the low 80s now in our countdown. It seems like we were just profiling Amari Cooper at 89. Now we reach the man wearing 82 for the Raiders these days.
TE Gabe Holmes
It’s hard to believe, but this is the third season in which Gabe Holmes will be entering training camp with ownership over the number 82. Mainly it’s hard to believe because in that time he has never even suited up for a regular season game for the Raiders.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue, this 6-5, 240-pound former basketball player showed enough promise in his first training camp for the Raiders to keep him around on the practice squad.
He appeared on his way to forcing the Raiders to make a tough call at the roster cutdown, but an injured ankle made the decision for them as he landed on injured reserve for the season.
Once again, he will battle for a roster spot. Mychal Rivera was his primary competition to fit inside the bubble last season. Rivera is gone and Jared Cook is in, making it a lot tougher for Holmes to break in. But should there be an injury at the tight end position or the team decides to carry four tight ends, Holmes is the current front runner for that spot.
Who wore it best: WR James Jett (1993-2002)
The former Olympian with the last name that was to describe how he flew down the field always carried high hopes for the Raiders. He came along seven years after Cliff Branch had retired and of all the post-Branch hopefuls, Jett turned out to be the most successful.
He was with the team for ten years. What Branch did for Fred Biletnikoff back in the 70s, was what Jett did for Tim Brown in the 90s. He was a deep threat which forced the safety to help over the top. In Jett's rookie season in 1993 he had 771 yards receiving with an eye popping 23.4 yards per catch. That 771 yards was the Raiders’ rookie record which stood for 22 years until Amari Cooper broke it in 2015.
Jett didn't become a fulltime starter until his fourth season and then spent five seasons opposite Tim Brown. In that time Jett had over 800 yards twice and averaged around 650 yards and 5 touchdowns per season. Then Jerry Rice came along.