Born in Kansas City, Missouri, it had to be tough for the family and friends of Russ Washington watch him excel for the Chargers. After all, the rivalry between the Chargers and Kanas City Chiefs dates back to the early 1960s.
But they had to be proud of Washington’s performance in San Diego, regardless of which team it was for.
Washington was the No. 4 overall pick of the 1968 NFL Draft out of Missouri. He would go on to spend the next 15 seasons with the Chargers, making the Pro Bowl five times, while playing in 200 career games, fourth-most in team history. He made the start in 196 of those games.
Washington was the right tackle on an offensive line that included Don Macek, Doug Wilkerson, Ed White and Billy Shields. You can argue that all five of those players deserve to be on this list, as it was the best offensive line in team history, one that made life great for Dan Fouts.
Washington was arguably the best of the bunch, holding his own against some of the league’s top defenders for well over a decade. After leaving the Chargers after the 1982 season, he played for the Tampa Bay Bandits for two years in the short-lived USFL.
He was welcomed back to San Diego with open arms when he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also named to the team’s 50th Anniversary Team.
Washington still has ties to the San Diego area as the owner of a car wash where he regularly makes appearances.
Is he the best offensive lineman in team history? That argument can certainly be made as well.