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Raiders countdown to kickoff: 43 is John Crockett, who wore it best?

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The first day of camp is today. That also means we’re two weeks away from the Raiders’ preseason opener. The regular season opener, however, is 43 days away. The current number 43 got his number just in time to make the countdown.

RB John Crockett

One of he newest Raiders is John Crockett. He was signed a couple of weeks ago and up until today, didn’t even have a number. Crockett is a second year running back out of North Dakota State. The 6-0, 215-pounder spent last season with the Packers, appearing in two games and carrying that ball 9 times for 21 yards.

They liked him enough to sign him and release Taiwan Jones, but Crockett will have a tough time cracking the roster. His best hope might be sticking around on the practice squad.

Who wore it best: S George Atkinson (1968-77)

The first great Raider safety. He stalked the middle of the Raiders defensive secondary for ten years from 1968-77 as part of the famed ‘Soul Patrol'. He was the master of getting in opponents' heads as part of some of the most ruthless defenders the NFL has ever seen.

Atkinson might be most well-known for his forearm to the head of Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann that knocked him out of the 1975 AFC Championship game. They met the Steelers again in the 1976 season opener, Akinson gave Swann a reminder with an extracurricular clothesline, again knocking Swann out of the game with a concussion and prompting Steelers coach Chuck Noll to refer to the Raiders secondary as “The Criminal Element”. That same season Atkinson and that ‘criminal’ Raiders defense helped lead the Raiders to their first Super Bowl win, beating Swann and the Steelers in the AFC Championship along the way.

Atkinson was named to the AFL All Star team in his first two seasons in the NFL, the first as a punt returner. In fact his 148 punts for 1,247 yards and 3 TDs is third in Raiders history. He also had 30 career interceptions which is 5th all-time in team history.

His son joined the Raiders in 2014 as an undrafted free agent running back out of Notre Dame. He spent most of his time with the Raiders on the practice squad, but was called up to the active roster for 5 games, returning 7 kicks for 134 yards. He spent last season with the Browns, also as a kick returner.