Ranking the greatest Detroit Lions of all time is no easy task to accomplish. From No. 1 all the way up to No. 99, I will attempt to rank the greatest Lions players based on their jersey number. This list now continues with my selection for the best at No. 7.
The only No. 7 in Lions history, Earl “Dutch” Clark was one of the legends. Clark was the Lions’ first enshrinement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after seven solid seasons with the team. Playing the tailback position (which would now be the QB position) in the 1930s, Clark was an All-Pro player in each of his first six seasons with the Lions. He was a three-time scoring champion and led the Lions to the 1935 NFL championship with a victory over the New York Giants.
During Clark’s time, the passing game was considered a footnote as many teams ran the ball on every down. Clark became one of the first true passers in the NFL, completing 45 percent of his passes when teams would normally struggle to hit 40 percent. While he was a good passer, Clark was a triple threat on offense. Not only was he a good passer, he averaged nearly 4.5 yards per carry and also averaged 12 yards per reception.
Clark was such an instrumental part of the early years of pro football that he was in the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1963 class along with legends like Red Grange, Curly Lambeau, Jim Thorpe, Don Hutson and Sammy Baugh. Clark is the only Lion player to have worn No. 7, and his jersey is one of only nine to be retired by the team.