LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Legendary numbers that should be retired

By Steven Haglund
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Charlie Joiner #18 of the San Diego Chargers reaches out for this pass against the New York Giants during an NFL football game October 19, 1980 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. Joiner played for the Chargers from 1976-86. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Charlie Joiner #18 of the San Diego Chargers reaches out for this pass against the New York Giants during an NFL football game October 19, 1980 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. Joiner played for the Chargers from 1976-86. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

LA Chargers numbers that need to be retired: Charlie Joiner’s 18 and Kellen Winslow’s 80

Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow currently sit at second and third on the team’s all-time list for receptions. Both were key members of the Chargers teams of the ’80s. Both are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Neither have their numbers retired by the Chargers and that should be corrected in my opinion.

Winslow was drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 1979 NFL Draft and played his whole career in San Diego. He was a key member of the “Air Coryell” offense, totaling 541 receptions, 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns in his nine seasons as a Charger. He was voted first-team All-Pro three times and named to five Pro Bowls.

In 1980, he set an NFL record for most catches in a season by a tight end with 89, breaking Mike Ditka’s record. That record has since been broken several times, but that really just serves as a credit to Winslow for revolutionizing the position.

Not only was he a great football player, but he was also a true warrior on the field. His efforts in the “Epic in Miami” will never be forgotten and the picture of him being supported by his teammates after literally giving every ounce of energy he had is one of my personal favorite images of all time.

His number not being retired is kind of a double-edged sword because it not being retired allowed Malcolm Floyd to wear it and he certainly is a Chargers legend as well. Maybe that gives even more reason to retire the number and let it honor both of those legends.

RELATED: The best trade in team history with the Cleveland Browns

No LA Chargers player currently wears #80.

Joiner was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame in 1996 and up until 2011, Joiner was the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions. He is also third in yards and fourth in touchdowns. Like Winslow, he was a key member of the Coryell era which is one of the best in the history of the team’s franchise.

He was not drafted by the Chargers but he truly blossomed into a great player after being traded to the team in 1976. He joined the team as a 29-year-old and up until that point he hadn’t posted a single 1,000-yard season. He reached that mark four times as a member of the Chargers.

Most players don’t peak at age 32, but Joiner did. From ages 32 to 34 he posted 213 catches, 3,328 yards and 15 touchdowns. He established himself as one of the league’s best deep threats, averaging 16.2 yards per reception over the course of his career. When he retired at the age of 39, his 750 career receptions were the most of all time. He was first-team All-Pro one time and was voted to three Pro-Bowls.

After retiring he also coached for the Chargers for some time as the team’s wide receiver coach.

No LA Chargers player currently wears his famous number 18.

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