Greatest Detroit Lions By Number: No. 15
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 for each jersey number. This list now continues with my selection for the best at No. 15.
A punter being drafted in the second round today would be seen as completely ridiculous, but in 1977, the Cleveland Browns made punter Tom Skladany their second-round pick. Ironically, Skladany would never play a single down for the Browns, and instead he spent five of his six NFL seasons in Detroit.
Prior to Jim Arnold in the late 1980s, Skladany has been the only punter in Lions history to reach the Pro Bowl. He reached the Pro Bowl in 1981 after averaging 43.5 yards per punt and recording a long of 74. Prior to his only Pro Bowl appearance, Skladany was also a well recognized punter at Ohio State, earning All-American honors in three seasons.
In Skladany’s first five seasons in the NFL, the Lions made only one postseason appearance in 1982, that being the shortened strike season and the expanded postseason that year. That year, the Lions would lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. During Skladany’s career the Lions’ best record was 9-7 in 1980, and in 1983 he would join the Philadelphia Eagles.
Without Skladany, the special teams success in recent years with Arnold, Eddie Murray and Jason Hanson may not be possible.
Other nominees: Stoney Case (2000)
Previous article in series: No.14.
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