They’re all-time NFL greats. And they’re former Eagles.
But they were never both at the same time.
We thought it would be fun to come up with a list of the 10 greatest NFL players who finished their careers in obscurity as Eagles.
Two rules: They weren’t allowed to spend more than one season with the Eagles and their final NFL game had to be in an Eagles uniform.
That eliminates guys like Mark Bavaro, Roy Green and Greg Townsend.
But there are some pretty notable players - including three Hall of Famers - who finished their brilliant NFL careers as mediocre and forgotten Eagles.
Interesting to note that seven of the 10 played for the Eagles between 1993 and 1997!
Tomorrow, we'll do the opposite top-10 list ... the 10 greatest players who began their career in obscurity with the Eagles!
1. DE Richard Dent
Before he was an Eagle [1983-1996]: Four-time Pro Bowler with the Bears and an all-pro and Super Bowl MVP in1985. One of only six defensive players named Super Bowl MVP. Ranked 3rd in NFL history with 133 sacks through 1996 (behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith). One of only four players in NFL history with consecutive 17-sack seasons (White, J.J. Watt and Mark Gastineau are the others). Was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
As an Eagle : Had 4 1/2 sacks in 15 games with no starts playing for a 6-win team. Finished third on team in sacks, behind Rhett Hall [8.0] and William Thomas [5.0].
2. WR James Lofton
Before he was an Eagle [1978-1992]: Eight-time Pro Bowler with Packers and Bills.
Held NFL record with 13,821 yards when he signed with Eagles and ranked 3rd with 750 catches [behind Art Monk and Steve Largent]. Had 18.4 yards-per-catch average, 4th-highest in NFL history. Had 6th 1,000-yard season at 35 years old. One of seven players in history to average over 20 yards per catch four times. Named to NFL team of the decade for the 1980s. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2003.
As an Eagle : Played nine games. Caught 13 passes for 167 yards and no TDs. Final career reception was 32-yarder from Bubby Brister against 49ers on final day of 1993 season.
3. WR Art Monk
Before he was an Eagle [1980-1994]: Held NFL record with 934 receptions when he signed with Eagles and ranked 4th with 12,607 receiving yards. Set NFL record with 106 catches in 1984 all-pro season. Won two Super Bowls. Had over 1,000 yards in postseason. Named to NFL team of the decade for the 1980s. Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2008.
As an Eagle : Played in three games. Caught six passes for 114 yards. Final career reception was a 36-yarder from Rodney Peele in Christmas Eve loss to Bears at Soldier Field. Monk broke his arm on the play while being tackled by Mark Carrier. He never played again.
4. PR-KR Mel Gray
Before he was an Eagle [1986-1997]: Three-time all-pro and three-time Pro Bowl returner with the Lions. Had six kick return TDs and three punt return TDs. Led NFL in kick return average in 1991 and 1994 and in punt return average in 1987 and 1991. One of four players in NFL history to average 10 yards per punt return and 24 yards per kick return and one of only four players with 3 TD returns on both punts and kicks. Was named to the team of the decade for the 1990s second team as both punt returner and kick returner.
As an Eagle : Played in three games. In his first game called for a fair catch of a Brad Maynard punt at the Eagles’ 5-yard-line. Returned two punts for an 8.5 average and one kickoff for 8 yards.
5. WR Mark Duper
Before he was an Eagle [1982-1992]: Had 511 catches for 8,869 yards and 59 touchdowns with the Dolphins, made three Pro Bowls, had five straight years averaging at least 18 yards per catch and as of the end of the 1992 season had a 17.4 yards-per-catch average, 6th-highest in NFL history.
As an Eagle : The Eagles actually signed him on Aug. 18, two days after Carter retired. He was released 12 days later (along with Casey Weldon, Siran Stacy and Ephesians Bartley).
6. DT Michael Carter
Before he was an Eagle [1984-1992]: Three-time Pro Bowler and all-pro defensive tackle with 49ers. Starter on three 49ers Super Bowl teams. Olympic silver medalist in the shot put in 1984.
As an Eagle : Signed with the Eagles on July 15 and retired on Aug. 16.
7. DT Haloti Ngata
Before he was an Eagle [2006-2017]: Ngata made five straight Pro Bowls as a Raven and two all-pro teams. He was a starter on the Ravens’ Super Bowl-championship team in 2012. His teams made the playoffs in 9 of his 13 seasons. His 19 career playoff games are 2nd-most in NFL history by a defensive lineman (Vince Wilfork played in 24). He’s already been inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor.
As an Eagle : Played in 13 games starting nine for the 2018 Eagles. Played 368 snaps and had 17 tackles. Retired after the season.
8. RB Chris Warren
Before he was an Eagle [1990-2000]: Warren was one of the most accomplished running backs in the NFL in the 1990s. He made three straight Pro Bowls for the Seahawks, had four straight 1,000-yard seasons and during the 6-year span from 1992 through 1997 was the 3rd-leading rusher in the NFL, behind only Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith.
As an Eagle : With Duce Staley out for the season and the running game ineffective, the Eagles signed Warren late in the 2000 regular season. He rushed for 42 yards in the regular-season finale against the Bengals, then was 22-for-85 in the playoff win over the Bucs - the Eagles’ first playoff win under Andy Reid. In Eagles history only Wilbert Montgomery has more carries in a playoff game. Warren ran for 11 yards against the Giants a week later in his final NFL game.
9. DT Keith Millard
Before he was an Eagle [1985-1992]: Two-time all-pro defensive tackle for Vikings. Had 54 sacks as an interior lineman. Set NFL record for defensive tackles with 18 sacks in 1989. His 51 sacks remains 2nd-most in NFL history by a defensive tackle in his first five seasons (behind Aaron Donald’s 59 1/2).
As an Eagle : Played in 14 games, starting six on a defensive line with Andy Harmon, William Perry, Mike Floes and Clyde Simmons. Played his final NFL game on final day of 1993 season - also Lofton’s final NFL game. Sacked Steve Bono on the final play of his career.
10. WR Carlos Carson
Before he was an Eagle [1980-89]: Caught 353 passes for 6,372 yards and 33 touchdowns with the Chiefs and made the Pro Bowl in 1983 and 1987. Had three 1,000-yard seasons, and in 1983 finished second in the NFL to Mike Quick with 1,351 yards. Piled up 6,431 scrimmage yards in a Chiefs uniform.
As an Eagle : In his first game as an Eagle, against the Redskins at the Vet, he dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Randall Cunningham that would have been a long touchdown. He finished the season with one 12-yard catch and minus-nine yards on an end around for three scrimmage yards.
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