My Big NFL Five: Tight Ends

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Jan 29, 2013, New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens former tight end Shannon Sharpe at the CBS sports Super Bowl XLVII press conference at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Shannon Sharpe (Broncos/Ravens)

This guy was the original underdog. Taken in the 7th round of the 1990 NFL Draft, Shannon Sharpe was passed up a lot, and now those teams that passed him up sure do regret it. He was the younger brother of NFL great WR Sterling Sharpe, and that pair of brothers were extremely good at their respective positions. Shannon ended up with three 1000+ yard seasons on the way to retiring with the records for TD receptions, receptions, and receiving yards by a tight end, which would later be broken by Tony Gonzalez. He was the 1st tight end in NFL history to have 10,000 receiving yards in his career. Today, we know him as a wise-cracking analyst on CBS, where both he and his brother work at. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.


2. Kellen Winslow Sr. (Chargers)
He is the first great Chargers tight end, really the first great tight end in NFL history, and he was a tough one. He has played in above 100 degree and sub-zero weather, and this was in back to back weeks. The older Bengals fans will remember the Freezer Bowl, in which the Bengals hosted the Chargers in the coldest game in recent memory. Winslow was a giant part of that game. A lot of us remember his son, who had a pretty good NFL career himself. He is aleady in Canton, and has a legitimate argument for the all time greatest tight end.

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Tags: NFL Tight End Tony Gonzalez

  • NativeSanDiegan

    As a lifelong Chargers fan (>50yrs), appreciate the recognition. But John Mackey has to take Vernon Davis spot. Unfortunately for Gates longevity, he was the victim of a couple of bad cheap shots. The worst was in a playoff game vs Titans (coached by Jeff Fisher who happened to be on the competition committee, so his team got away with more penalties). Anyway, Gates made a catch for a first down, falling to the ground. He laid there prepared for a hard hit (expecting a bit of a cheap shot). After a few seconds of just lying there and obviously not trying to get up and run, he slowly started to get up. He put a hand on the ground and slowly started to plant the toe of his cleats firmly in the ground when a big linebacker dove full speed Into his back. This not only injured Antonio’s back, it completely ripped all of his muscles in the bottom of his foot from where they attached near the ball of his foot (the plantar fascia). The Chargers already had the game won, but of course no penalty. That injury completely wiped out Gates’ next 2 years although he tried to play through it. He had no speed and couldn’t make cuts for over 2 years. He never regained his deep speed (yes, he could go deep on almost anyone) and had to round off his cuts. He has continued to play through all of it, and if not for that one cheap shot, would still be going deep and have Gonzalez longevity. But he never complained and just did other facets of his game to help the team.