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Countdown to kickoff: 99 is Arden Key, what the number means to Raiders

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Oakland Raiders

We are officially into double digits until the Raiders open their 2018 season. And with that we start our countdown. The number 99 means a few things to the Raiders. But we start with the man wearing it on his back right now.

There’s a new number 99 in Oakland. It’s rookie third round pick Arden Key. The pass rusher was selected with the 87 overall pick out of LSU.

Most agree — including Key himself — that he would have gone higher had he not had some character issues in college.

After putting up 12.5 sacks his sophomore season, he took a 4-month leave of absence for unknown reasons prior to his senior season and came back overweight. It had NFL folks questioning his desire and work ethic. The talent his there and the Raiders are banking on him getting past his character concerns and being the third pass rusher they need behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

They are certainly hoping he wears it better than Aldon Smith did. They kept the number for him for a couple seasons while he was banned from the league for substance abuse. A domestic abuse incident this offseason officially ended his NFL career

The best to wear it for the Raiders was DE Sean Jones from 1983-87, posting 31 sacks in four years with the Raiders. He spent a total of 13 seasons in the NFL.

What 99 means to the Raiders:

Over 16 seasons with the Raiders, Tim Brown posted exactly 99 touchdowns. In order to get to triple digits, he spent his final season with Jon Gruden in Tampa where he got his one touchdown to reach 100 for his career.

The longest reception in Raiders history was a 99-yard touchdown pass from Jim Plunkett to Cliff Branch in 1983 in a game against Washington. They would lose the game, but the two teams would meet again that season in the Super Bowl. This time the Raiders would be victorious to hoist their third Lombardi Trophy.