The most effective reunions in NFL historical past

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A couple of gamers joined former employers this offseason. Each Trent Brown and Kyle Van Noy are again in New England. Whereas Invoice Belichick has used this technique successfully, different groups have as properly. Listed below are one of the best reunion efforts for the reason that 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

 

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25. Tony Martin, Miami Dolphins

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Principally a backup behind the Marks Brothers in his early-Nineteen Nineties Miami tenure, Martin made an even bigger affect in San Diego and Atlanta. He began for 2 Tremendous Bowl-qualifying groups and made a Professional Bowl as a Charger. The Dolphins introduced Martin again in 1999, and Dan Marino’s former auxiliary goal led the way in which within the legend’s last season. Martin paced the Dolphins with 1,037 receiving yards, serving to Miami again to the playoffs throughout a 12 months by which a declining Marino missed 5 video games. Foot hassle nagged Martin in 2000, however he grew to become the uncommon skill-position participant to affect a staff extra in his mid-30s than his mid-20s.

 

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24. Moe Williams, Minnesota Vikings

Moe Williams, Minnesota Vikings

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Williams’ profession featured scant utilization on offense till his sixth season. The 1996 third-round choose labored principally as a kick returner in his first five-year tour with the Vikings when he backed up Robert Smith. Williams and Smith departed in 2001, Smith retiring and Williams leaving for Baltimore. However Williams returned in ’02 and out of the blue grew to become wanted. He rushed for 11 TDs in his first season again and amassed 1,389 scrimmage yards in 2003, subbing for injured speedster Michael Bennett. Williams’ position lessened in his last two seasons, however he did ship a 68-yard catch-and-run TD in a 2004 playoff win in Inexperienced Bay.

 

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23. Ian Gold, Denver Broncos

Ian Gold, Denver Broncos

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One of some gamers Mike Shanahan had success rehiring, Gold made his second Denver stint extra memorable than his first. A special-teamer for a piece of his first Broncos stretch, Gold joined the Buccaneers in free company in 2004. That deal lasted one 12 months, however Gold rejoined the Broncos quickly after. He grew to become an affect participant for a 2005 Denver staff that went 13-3 behind its No. 3-ranked protection. The undersized exterior ‘backer made 12 tackles for loss, recorded three sacks, and compelled 4 fumbles in his first season again. Gold began for an additional top-10 protection in ’06; the Broncos lower him in 2008.

 

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22. Fred McAfee, New Orleans Saints

Fred McAfee, New Orleans Saints

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Particular-teamers usually get pleasure from prolonged careers, however typically, the kicker-punter-long snapper style of special-teamer has that privilege. McAfee performed 16 seasons as principally a real special-teamer. A 1991 sixth-round Saints choose, McAfee performed working again in his first three Saints slates. However after a nomadic six years to shut the ’90s, McAfee returned to New Orleans. He spent seven seasons as a particular groups chief. McAfee’s uncommon profession arc included a 2002 Professional Bowl, 30 particular groups tackles in 2005, and roles on the Saints’ kick and punt models till age 38 — when he unretired and performed for Sean Payton’s NFC championship-bound staff.

 

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21. Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers

Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers

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Remaining productive into his late 30s, the NFL’s No. 4 all-time sacker completed his profession in a well-recognized place. The Panthers drafted Peppers second general in 2002 however let him stroll in free company in 2010 when the 6-foot-7 defensive finish signed a defender-record contract with the Bears. After spending the following six seasons in Chicago and Inexperienced Bay, the North Carolina native got here house in 2017. The ex-Tar Heel two-sport standout signed a one-year deal and registered 11 sacks, at age 37, for a playoff-bound Panthers staff. Peppers returned in 2018, accumulating 5 extra sacks to complete his 17-year profession with 159.5.

 

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20. Mark Stepnoski, Dallas Cowboys

Mark Stepnoski, Dallas Cowboys

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A part of Dallas’ traditionally good offensive line that launched Emmitt Smith to early-’90s superstardom, Stepnoski joined the Oilers for the 1995 season. He stayed with the franchise for 4 years, following it to Tennessee for 2 of these, however agreed to return to the Cowboys in 1999. Whereas Smith was previous his prime by this level, his preliminary heart’s return helped hold Dallas’ run sport elite. The Cowboys boasted two top-six speeding assaults in Stepnoski’s three-year second act, together with in a 2001 season that featured Quincy Carter at quarterback. Sure, Larry Allen additionally helped, however Stepnoski did properly again in Dallas.

 

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19. Ron Smith, Chicago Bears

Ron Smith, Chicago Bears

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A Chicago native, Smith caught on together with his hometown staff as a free agent in 1965 however was misplaced to the Falcons in a 1966 enlargement draft. The defensive again closed out the ’60s on the Rams, however they traded him again to the Bears in 1970. Smith noticed motion at nook and was a multi-year security starter in Chicago. He made the 1972 Professional Bowl as a return man, nonetheless, having served as each Chicago’s kick and punt returner — along with working as a full-time security — in his second keep. The Bears traded Smith to the Chargers in 1973.

 

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18. Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins

Larry Csonka, Miami Dolphins

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Csonka’s first Dolphins stint ended when the deep-pocketed (for a short while) World Soccer League poached him in 1975. The WFL, which spawned in 1974, folded halfway via the ’75 season. Bitter negotiations between Csonka and Dolphins proprietor Joe Robbie despatched the longer term Corridor of Fame fullback to the Giants, who have been mired in a brutal stretch. The Giants launched an injury-plagued Csonka in 1979, and he returned to Miami. At 32, Csonka had his greatest season since his first Miami chapter. He gained 837 speeding yards, rushed for 12 TDs, and performed a key position for a division champion. Csonka retired at season’s finish.

 

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17. Jason Babin, Philadelphia Eagles

Jason Babin, Philadelphia Eagles

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A part of the Eagles’ 2011 “Dream Staff” effort, Babin returned to Philly after spending the 2010 season in Tennessee. The previous first-round defensive finish was an Eagle in 2009, however the staff refused to match a Titans $1 million provide sheet. The Eagles paid up in 2011, signing Babin for 5 years and $28M. Babin rampaged to an 18-sack season, proving his breakout Titans 12 months (12.5 sacks) was no fluke. Nevertheless, the Eagles — whose 2011 offseason grew to become a warning signal for early anointment — waived him through the 2012 season. Babin was unable to recapture his 2011 magic henceforth.

 

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16. Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos

Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos

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After two productive seasons in Baltimore, Sharpe grew to become a Ravens cap casualty in 2002. The Raiders and Seahawks confirmed curiosity, however the future Corridor of Famer re-signed with the Broncos — with whom he performed the primary 10 seasons of his profession. Sharpe aided two Broncos offenses, significantly 2003’s Jake Plummer-led assault, and set a number of information in his second Denver tenure. Sharpe’s 214-yard outing in Kansas Metropolis stays the NFL’s single-game tight finish yardage mark. Throughout his 770-yard, eight-TD 2003 slate, Sharpe added the profession tight finish TD mark to his checklist of then-records and helped the Broncos again to the playoffs.

 

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15. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers

James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Harrison’s one-season keep in Cincinnati didn’t work out, and the scary edge rusher remained in free company for 5 months in 2014. The Steelers re-signed Harrison in September and noticed him rediscover a few of his first-stint kind. A Steeler from 2004-12, the previous Defensive Participant of the 12 months recorded 15.5 sacks from 2014-16. He helped a Pittsburgh protection missing the expertise it as soon as possessed and drew an Eric Fisher holding penalty on a two-point conversion to assist the Steelers oust the Chiefs within the 2016 divisional spherical. A playing-time dispute led to the Steelers waiving Harrison in 2017 when he completed his profession as a Patriot.

 

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14. Laveranues Coles, New York Jets

Laveranues Coles, New York Jets

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A seven-year, $35 million Washington provide sheet broke up the Jets’ Coles-Santana Moss receiving duo, with Washington prying Coles away after a career-best 2002 season. In 2005, nonetheless, New York and Washington swapped Moss and Coles in a commerce involving solely the sub-6-foot wideouts. Moss spent the following 10 seasons in D.C., and whereas Coles’ second Jets keep lasted simply 4, he remained productive into his 30s. He posted a 1,000-yard season for the playoff Jets staff in 2006 and remained Chad Pennington’s prime goal via the ’08 season. Coles nonetheless sits within the Jets’ prime 5 in all main profession receiving classes.

 

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13. Eddie Robinson, Tennessee Titans

Eddie Robinson, Tennessee Titans

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An uncommon reunion, nevertheless it counts. A 1992 Oilers second-round choose, Robinson left Houston as a free agent in 1996. The linebacker began two seasons for a quick-developing Jaguars staff, however after the Jags lower him in 1998, the veteran returned to the franchise that drafted him. It was in Tennessee by this level. A Houston Oiler, Tennessee Oiler, and Tennessee Titan, Robinson didn’t miss a sport in 4 Tennessee seasons and got here up large within the two largest video games in Titans historical past. Robinson pressured two fumbles within the 1999 AFC championship sport (a win over the Jags) and Tremendous Bowl XXXIV. He additionally began for the 2000 staff’s elite protection.

 

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12. Keith Traylor, Denver Broncos

Keith Traylor, Denver Broncos

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Traylor’s James Toney-like metamorphosis goes missed, however this reunion featured a a lot completely different participant coming again to Denver. The Broncos drafted Traylor as a linebacker in 1991 however saved him for simply two years. When Traylor returned to Colorado in 1997, he was a number of weight lessons north of his early-’90s stature. A defensive deal with in his second Broncos run, Traylor grew to become important for a staff that gained back-to-back Tremendous Bowls. His 62-yard INT return in Buffalo helped Denver escape with a 1997 OT win, and the 300-plus-pounder remained a Broncos starter via 2000. The burden acquire helped hold Traylor within the NFL till 2007.

 

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11. Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders

Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders

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Not that his Corridor of Fame credentials wanted burnishing, however the 2021 inductee padded his resume with three seasons again in Oakland. Returning to the Raiders in 2013, after seven Packers seasons, Woodson did in order a security. A lockdown cornerback in his first Raiders tour, Woodson was the largest title on some dangerous Raiders groups. He added 10 INTs, together with 5 in his age-39 2015 farewell season, to wrap his profession with 65 (tied for fifth all-time). This didn’t end in a Raiders playoff berth or significantly imposing defenses, however Woodson didn’t miss a sport and ended an 18-year profession on a excessive be aware.

 

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10. Richie Incognito, Buffalo Payments

Richie Incognito, Buffalo Bills

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Incognito’s first Payments cameo got here on the finish of the 2009 season when the staff claimed him off waivers after the Rams grew uninterested in the gifted guard’s antics. Incognito’s second Buffalo arrival got here after his career-defining Bullygate scandal, which led to the polarizing blocker lacking the 2014 season. The Payments gave Incognito one other likelihood in 2015, signing him for one 12 months and $2.25 million. He made the following three Professional Bowls and opened lanes for LeSean McCoy on two No. 1-ranked speeding assaults. The Payments lower Incognito in 2018 when extra off-field hassle led to him lacking a full season.

 

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9. Otis Smith, New England Patriots

Otis Smith, New England Patriots

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Smith is the uncommon participant to reunite with two groups. The Eagles UDFA caught on with Wealthy Kotite once more with the Jets. Nevertheless, they lower the cornerback early within the 1996 season. Smith proceeded to play underneath Invoice Belichick for the following six years. He landed with the Pats’ ’96 Tremendous Bowl staff, adopted Belichick and Invoice Parcells to the Jets in ’97, and accompanied Belichick to New England in 2000. Regardless of being 36, Smith delivered in 2001. He returned two of his 5 INTs again for touchdowns and added a choose of Kurt Warner within the Pats’ Tremendous Bowl XXXVI upset. Smith was a three-year Pats starter, retaining that gig at 37 in 2002.

 

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8. Kevin Greene, Carolina Panthers

Kevin Greene, Carolina Panthers

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Though the Panthers made Greene a part of their defense-powered 1996 emergence, they lower the all-time nice simply forward of the 1997 season. The 49ers additionally used the energetic edge rusher as a one-and-done, releasing him shortly after the ’97 slate. Greene returned to Carolina in 1998 and did what he all the time did: drop quarterbacks. At 36, Greene registered 15 sacks for the ’98 Panthers and made his last Professional Bowl. He returned for one last season and posted 12 sacks, giving him 160 for his profession. That ranks third all-time. Given how lengthy it took the Corridor of Fame to enshrine Greene, his second Panthers keep loomed giant.

 

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7. Tyrone Braxton, Denver Broncos

Tyrone Braxton, Denver Broncos

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John Elway was not alone among the many Broncos who suited up for Tremendous Bowl XXII and XXXII. Braxton, a rookie in 1987, joined the QB icon. He held an even bigger position 10 years later. A cornerback in his first Broncos tour, Braxton joined the Dolphins in 1994. He returned to the Broncos a 12 months later as a security, changing the retired Dennis Smith alongside Steve Atwater. The center-bar facemask loyalist began the following 5 years. Braxton’s NFL-high 9 INTs helped the 1996 Broncos to the No. 1 seed. He added six extra in ’97 — together with one that arrange an Elway TD in Tremendous Bowl XXXII — and recovered two fumbles in Denver’s 1998 playoff run.

 

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6. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

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The Steelers’ two-year, $3.85 million Blount deal mattered little, with the facility again’s Pittsburgh tenure remembered as a result of he left the sphere earlier than the top of a 2014 sport. The Steelers promptly waived Blount that November. Two days later, he resurfaced in New England. Blount, who rushed for 4 TDs in a Patriots divisional-round rout of the Colts earlier that 12 months, regained kind with the Pats. He dominated the Colts once more within the Deflategate AFC title sport and picked up two extra rings — the second coming after an NFL-best 18 speeding TDs in 2016. Blount added ring No. 3 by serving to the Eagles beat the Pats in Tremendous Bowl LII.

 

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5. Jeremiah Trotter, Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremiah Trotter, Philadelphia Eagles

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Though the Eagles have been unable to maintain Trotter as a free agent in 2002, when he defected to Washington on a seven-year deal value $35.5 million, he ended up coming again twice. Washington launched Trotter after two seasons, and he revived his profession again in Philly in 2004. Reinstalled because the Eagles’ beginning center linebacker halfway via the ’04 slate, Trotter lifted a struggling run protection and helped the Eagles to Tremendous Bowl XXXIX. He mixed for 23 tackles for loss between the 2004-05 seasons, making two Professional Bowls. Trotter’s second Eagles keep ended after 2006, however he ended his profession on the playoff-bound ’09 staff.

 

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4. Patrick Chung, New England Patriots

Patrick Chung, New England Patriots

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Few gamers have Chung beat for Tremendous Bowl snaps. The veteran security performed in 5 Tremendous Bowls; 4 of these got here in his second Patriots tour. Chung lasted one season with the Eagles (2013), returning to New England after being lower. Belichick used him as a starter for the following six seasons; 4 of these resulted in Tremendous Bowls. Chung signed 4 extra Pats contracts and began for 3 extra championship groups, enjoying an integral half on perennial top-10 defenses. Devin McCourty’s back-line wingman, who retired this 12 months, will probably be entrenched close to the highest of sure Tremendous Bowl lists for some time. 

 

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3. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

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Foles maximized his time as Eagles QB1. Throughout a maligned 12 months in energy, Chip Kelly traded his beginning QB for Sam Bradford in 2015. The previous Eagles Spherical 2 choose returned on a two-year, $11M deal in 2017. This grew to become a prudent funding, with Carson Wentz’s run of accidents starting that December. After a shaky begin, Foles delivered two all-time playoff outings. His 352-yard, three-TD displaying within the NFC title sport goes understandably missed, because the backup’s Tremendous Bowl begin will dwell on without end. Foles saved the 2018 Eagles’ season as properly, guiding them from 6-7 to the divisional spherical. He has not approached this stage elsewhere.

 

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2. Harold Jackson, Los Angeles Rams

Harold Jackson, Los Angeles Rams

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Blazing the path Brandin Cooks traveled, Jackson was thrice traded. However the diminutive speedster was considered one of his period’s greatest receivers, retiring second in all-time aerial yardage. A Twelfth-round Rams choose in 1968, Jackson joined the Eagles by way of 1969 commerce. However 1973’s monster Roman Gabriel commerce broke up Philly’s Jackson-Harold Carmichael pair, sending Jackson again to L.A. He stayed in prime kind, making three Professional Bowls with the Rams from 1973-77. Jackson lacked the QB stability of his elite wideout friends however produced anyway, scoring 4 playoff TDs in his second Rams run. The Rams traded him to the Patriots in 1978.

 

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1. Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings

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A runaway No. 1, Tarkenton led the Vikings to a few Tremendous Bowls and retired miles forward on all-time passing lists. Clashes with Vikings coach Norm Van Brocklin led to a Tarkenton commerce to the Giants in 1967. By the point the Bud Grant-run Vikes reacquired him in 1972, that they had assembled a roster crammed with Corridor of Famers. The twin-threat QB stabilized a wayward Minnesota passing scenario and drove the staff to a few Tremendous Bowls and closed his profession with six straight NFC Central titles. Tarkenton led the sphere by 52 TD passes and almost 7,000 yards when he retired after the 1978 season.

Sam Robinson is a Kansas Metropolis, Mo.-based author who principally writes concerning the NFL. He has lined sports activities for almost 10 years. Boxing, the Royals and Pandora stations that includes feminine rock protagonists are a few of his go-tos. Often attention-grabbing tweets @SRobinson25.



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