By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on May 23, 2014
Ranking the greatest Detroit Lions of all time is no easy task to accomplish. From No. 1 all the way up to 99 I will attempt to rank the greatest Lions players for each jersey number. This list continues with my selections for the best at Nos. 80-89.
For Nos. 70-79, visit http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/05/23/greatest-detroit-lions-by-number-numbers-70-79/
A combination WR-TE, Jim Gibbons was one of Detroit's leading receivers for the better part of eight seasons.
Gibbons posted three 45-plus reception seasons, and also posted three seasons with more than 500 receiving yards. Gibbons was selected to three Pro Bowls in his 11-year NFL career, all spent with the Lions.
This was a tough call between Hall of Fame CB Night Train Lane and WR Calvin Johnson, but I decided to go with the Hall of Fame defensive back.
Night Train Lane was one of the most intimidating defensive backs in NFL history, and one of the league's most prominent ball hawks as well. In Lane's six seasons in Detroit, Lane was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and recorded 21 interceptions.
A two-way player in the 1950s, WR-DE Leon Hart played on all three championship teams in the 50s, and was one of Detroit's leading receivers during his playing days.
Hart made the Pro Bowl in 1951 after hauling in 12 touchdown receptions on only 35 receptions. As a defender, Hart also recorded the only two interceptions of his career in 1951.
Another two-way player in the 1950s, WR-DE Jim Doran was not as prolific as Hart on offense, but he was just as effective on defense.
On offense, Doran never recorded a 40-reception season, but in two seasons, Doran had more than 500 yards receiving. On defense, Doran's only interception of his career came as a rookie in 1951, and was returned 38 yards. Doran also played on all three NFL Championship teams in the 1950s.
Prior to Calvin Johnson's arrival in 2007, WR Herman Moore was Detroit's most prolific receiver in team history.
In the 1990s, Moore dominated the decade as the wide receiver set numerous records in Detroit, including receptions in a season with 123 in 1995, and yards with 1,686, also in 1995. Moore was a four-time Pro Bowl selection from 1995-98, and had three 100-plus reception seasons.
Acquired in a trade in 2010, TE Tony Scheffler came to Detroit, and teamed with Brandon Pettigrew, forming one of the best TE tandems in football.
As a Lion, Scheffler had two 40-plus reception seasons in Detroit, and scored eight touchdowns in his Lions career. Scheffler would help the Lions reach the postseason in 2011, but Scheffler was released in 2013 after suffering multiple concussions.
Drafted by the Lions in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft, TE David Sloan never put up remarkable numbers, but Sloan was a solid player in Detroit.
As a receiver, Sloan only recorded one season with over 500-plus yards receiving, but his blocking also helped Barry Sanders set numerous records in Detroit. Sloan would make the Pro Bowl once in his career in 1999, but Sloan had his best season in 2001 with seven touchdown receptions.
Teamed with Moore and Brett Perriman in the mid-1990s, WR Johnnie Morton gave the Lions one of the best receiving trios in the NFL in the 90s.
For eight seasons, Morton was a great receiver, recording four 1,000-yard receiving seasons. In six-consecutive seasons from 1996-2001, Morton caught more than 50 passes in a season. Morton is one of Detroit's most underrated and most underappreciated players in team history.
For 10 seasons, TE Charlie Sanders not only set receiving records for Lions' tight ends, but also became one of Detroit's greatest players.
Despite never catching more than 45 passes in a single-season, Sanders' 336 career receptions was a then-team record until Moore broke that mark in 1996. Sanders made the Pro Bowl seven times, and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2007.
One of the first great receivers in Lions history, WR Gail Cogdill finished his Lions career in 1968 as the team's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
Cogdill was named the 1960 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, and ranks sixth on Detroit's all-time receptions list with 325. Cogdill also ranks fourth in team history with 5,221 receiving yards, and ranks seventh in team history in touchdowns with 28.
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