The Washington Times - July 23, 2008, 08:31AM

The Best — As I See It! 

Part VI: The linebackers

SEE RELATED:


by

Robert Janis

 

 

What is really fun about being a fan of a long established pro sports franchise is that you have an ever filling reservoir of players from which to choose for your list of best in a particular position. And, being a fan of the team whether it is for 50 years or five years means that you can fall back on your own personal opinion when making your own list of the best.

 

What follows is my list of the best Washington Redskins by squad.

 

Part I will cover the offensive line.

Part II will identify the best receivers.

Part III will list the best quarterbacks.

Part IV will describe the best running backs.

Part V goes into the best defensive linemen.

Part VI covers the linebackers.

Part VII will i.d. the best defensive backs.

Part VIII will discuss the best punters and field goal kickers.

Part IX will identify the best tight ends.

 

Again, this is my opinion. I encourage you to post your list of the best in a particular position as a comment to my article that covers that position. For example, no doubt you have your own opinions on who were the best Washington Redskins linebackers. Post your picks as a comment to my article.

 

 

Nominating the Players

 

First, we need to come up with some names that we can consider. I visited the 70 Greatest Redskins list at http://www.redskins.com and these are the linebackers that are included:

 

Monte Coleman (1979-1994)

Chuck Drazenovich (1950-1959)

Chris Hanburger (1965-1978)

Ken Harvey (1994-1998)

Sam Huff (1964-1969)

Wilbur Marshall (1988-1992)

Harold McLinton 

Neal Olkewicz (1979-1989)

 

Since the 70 Greatest Redskins list was compiled, the Redskins have had at least two linebackers I believe are worthy for consideration —LaVar Arrington (2000-2005) and Marcus Washington (2004 -  ).

 

 

The Evidence

 

Okay, let’s look at the evidence (read that as stats). 

 

Although Monte Coleman did not play in a Pro Bowl, his numbers are more than adequate. In his 16 years as a Redskin he garnered 43.5 sacks; 17 interceptions, 3 returned for touchdowns; and 999 tackles. He also has 4 career touchdowns and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also played in 21 playoff games. 

 

Chuck Drazenovich played before many of us were aware that there were the Redskins. That doesn’t mean that his numbers weren’t super. In his 10 year career with the Skins he played in 113 games during which he intercepted 15 passes and recovered 9 fumbles. He played in four Pro Bowls and received the following honors:

 

1956 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

1956 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 2nd team all-NFL

1956 —Sporting News 1st team all-NFL

1957 — Redskins Most Valuable Player

1957 — Newspaper Enterprises Associates 2nd team all NFL

1957 — Sporting News 1st team all-NFL

1958 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

1958 — Sporting News 1st team all-NFL

 

Chris Hanburger’s years with the Redskins extended from the mediocre days of the 1960s into the George Allen Era of the 1970s. His numbers make him more than worthy of Hall of Fame induction. In his 14 year career with the Redskins he played in 9 Pro Bowls (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972,1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976). He was selected 1st team all-Pro 4 times (1969, 1972, 1973, 1975). He recovered 17 fumbles returning 8 of them for touchdowns. His honors go on and on and on:

 

1968 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1969 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL

1969 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 2nd team all-NFL

1969 — NY Daily News 2nd team all-NFL

1969 — United Press International 2nd team all-NFL

1970 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1972 — Associated Press 1st team all-conference

1972 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1972 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1972 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1972 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL

1972 — Pro Football Writers 1st team all-NFL

1972 — Newspaper Enterprise Association 1st team all-NFL

1972 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-NFL

1973 — Associated Press 1st team all-conference

1973 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1973 —  Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1973 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1973 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL

1973 — Pro Football Writers 2nd team all-NFL

1973 — Newspaper Enterprise Association 1st team all-NFL

1973 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-NFL

1974 — Associated Press 1st team all-conference

1974 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1974 — Sporting News 1st team all conference

1974 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1974 — Pro Football Writers 2nd team all-NFL

1974 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 2nd team all-NFL

1975 — Associated Press 1st team all-conference

1975 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1975 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1975 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1975 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL

1975 — Pro Football Writers 2nd team all-NFL

1975 — Newspaper Enterprise Association 2nd team all-NFL

1976 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1976 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1976 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1976 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 1st team all-NFL

1976 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-NFL

 

Wow!! And this guy is NOT in the Pro Football Hall of Fame!!

 

Ken Harvey played for the Redskins for a total of 5 years. In that time he played in four Pro Bowls (1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997). He played in 74 games for the Redskins garnered 41.5 sacks, 376 tackles and 65 assists. His honors include:

 

1994 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1994 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1994 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

1995 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1995 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1995 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

1996 — United Press International 2nd team all-conference

 

Sam Huff is in the Hall of Fame, but remember that he played for the New York Giants a good number of years before joining the Redskins. He became known as the prototypical National Football League middle linebacker thanks to a segment on “The Twentieth Century” Television Show with Walter Cronkite. In that show Huff was shown playing the game with commentary from Cronkite and others. He played for the Redskins only from 1964 through 1969. He played in one Pro Bowl during his career with the Skins. He played in 66 games and garnered 12 interceptions and 1 touchdown. His honors during his Redskins years:

 

1964 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

1965 — Sporting News 1st team all-conference

 

Wilbur Marshall played 80 games for the Redskins during a span of 5 years. He played in three Pro Bowls (1986, 1987, 1992). He was named first team all-pro twice (1986, 1992). He achieved 24.5 sacks and 12 interceptions as well as 621 tackles. In 1991 alone he got 5 interceptions. His honors include:

 

1986 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1986 — United Press International 1st team all-conference

1986 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL

1986 — Pro Football Writers 1st team all-NFL

1986 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 2nd team all-NFL

1986 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-NFL

1987 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

1987 —United Press International 2nd team all-conference

1991 — United Press International 1st team all conference*

1991 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL*

1991 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 2nd team all-NFL*

1992 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference*

1992 — United Press International 1st team all-conference*

1992 — Associated Press 1st team all-NFL*

1992 — Pro Football Writers 1st team all-NFL*

1992 — Newspaper Enterprises Association 1st team all-NFL*

 

* As Redskin

 

Harold McLinton had a 10 year career with the Redskins. He played in 127 games and collected 4 interceptions and 1 touchdown during his career. I do remember one play McLinton was involved in. I guess it was in 1969. The Redskins were playing the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. I happened to be attending a university in St. Louis at the time and went to that game. McLinton laid out a Cardinal with an unbelievable hit the refs called a clothesline. He was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. 

 

Neal Olkewicz had a 11 year career with the Redskins. During that time he played in 150 games and amassed 12 sacks and 6 interceptions. 

 

LaVar Arrington is not part of the list of the 70 Greatest Redskins but the list was created before Arrington actually started to play. He had a 6 year career with the Redskins during which he played in 78 games, garnered 22.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 321 tackles with 76 assists. He played in three Pro Bowls (2001, 2002, 2003). In 2001 he ran back an interception 67 yards. And no one can forget that interception he returned for a TD to beat the Carolina Panthers. His honors include:

 

2001 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

2001 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

2002 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

2003 — Pro Football Weekly 1st team all-conference

2003 — Associated Press 2nd team all-NFL

 

Marcus Washington is still playing but his numbers already make him worthy for review. He has played in 58 games with the Redskins and has collected 19.5 sacks and 184 tackles. He played in one Pro Bowl (2004).

 

So, there you have it. The nominees for the best Redskins linebacker. 

 

 

And The Winner is … 

 

Chris Hanburger

Chuck Drazenovich

Wilbur Marshall

Ken Harvey

LaVar Arrington