The Washington franchise has had some absolutely legendary players. However, just like every other NFL team, they are not always remembered for their time with the organization.
Yes, Washington has had legends. Art Monk is one of the greatest wide receivers of all-time. Sean Taylor will always be remembered as a safety everyone loved and opponents feared. And of course, Darrell Green is easily one of the best defensive backs ever.
Those are just a few of the greats that spent time with Washington.
What about the ones that people might not remember though? Those players that had amazing careers elsewhere. Sure, they spent time with Washington, but not their prime years.
Due to that, it’s understandable if anyone forgets they ever even put on the Burgundy and Gold.
Who are the best of those players? Let’s go back through the history of the franchise and try to figure out which stars played for D.C. that you might not even remember.
5. Donovan McNabb
I heavily considered putting Bruce Smith here. Smith spent 19 seasons in the NFL, the first 15 with the Buffalo Bills. The last four of those, with Washington.
That’s what kills him. Four years. Not just any four years either. Smith still managed 29 sacks in that time as well, including 10 in his first year with the team.
That’s really not that bad. Oh, and he racked up career sack number 200 with Washington. That right there definitely makes his time with the franchise a little more memorable.
And then we come to Donovan McNabb.
McNabb is one of the greatest quarterbacks in Philadelphia Eagles’ history. He spent the first 11 years of his career there, winning a ton of games.
However, McNabb came to Washington for the 2010 season. And it’s a year that every Washington fan wishes they forgot. They must be jealous that most other NFL fans actually have the luxury of not remembering this season that’s been etched into their memory banks.
McNabb appeared in 13 games. He completed just 58.3% of his passes for 3,377 yards. Meanwhile, the QB had just 14 touchdown passes compared to 15 interceptions.
By the end of the year he was benched for Rex Grossman. Yes, seriously, Grossman.
McNabb went on to play one more year after this, with the Minnesota Vikings. Another forgettable season for an Eagles’ legend.
4. Jason Taylor
Jason Taylor spent the first 11 years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. In 2008 he took his talents to Washington.
And one of the most feared pass rushers in NFL history was ready to help create a winner in our nation’s capital.
The last eight seasons of his stretch in Miami saw Taylor average well over 10 sacks a year.
So big things were going to happen in Washington, right? How about 3.5 sacks in 13 games.
Taylor was not himself when he was with Washington. And it gets even more forgettable when considering he spent another three years in the league after that. Two of which were back with the Dolphins (one with the New York Jets).
All three of those seasons saw higher sack totals than his 2008 season.
Taylor was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 as a member of the Dolphins. I can’t imagine anyone is thinking about his time in Washington.
3. Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders is one of the most electrifying players of all-time. He had all types of swag and confidence, and the on-field skills to back it up.
One of the fastest players in the league, even when the cornerback did not have great coverage, he could make up the ground while the ball was in the air. And that led to some incredible interceptions and defensive plays.
Sanders spent his first five years in the league with the Atlanta Falcons. Then he had one incredible season with the San Francisco 49ers.
After that, Sanders spent five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. That’s when Washington came in.
The cornerback signed a seven-year contract worth $55-million to play with the team. So you’d imagine it was a memorable run, right?
Well his first season was a decent-enough 2000 year that saw him snag four interceptions and Washington go 8-8.
Then he retired. For three years Sanders was retired. When he came back in 2004, he spent the last two seasons of his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
Sanders was one of the most fascinating players of all-time. So everything he did was pretty memorable. Ask any random NFL fans about Sanders’ time in Washington though, they probably can’t tell you much.
2. Deacon Jones
Deacon Jones is a Los Angeles Rams legend. Sacks were not an official stat back when he played, but it is believed that the pass rusher racked up 173.5 in his career.
That would put him right near the top of the all-time list.
11 of his 14 NFL seasons saw the monster play for the Rams. He followed that up with two years as a member of the San Diego Chargers (now the Los Angeles Chargers).
Then in 1974 Jones played his final NFL season with Washington. No one talks about it though.
In fact, do you want an example as to just how forgettable that season is? Go to his official Pro Football Reference page. They have Jones’ 1974 season in Washington on there. But when you go to his career, it shows 11 years with the Rams and two with the Chargers. It does not show Washington.
1. Shaun Alexander
There was a stretch of time in the NFL where Shaun Alexander was probably the best player in the game.
The Seattle Seahawks running back was just absolutely insane.
In eight seasons with Seattle, Alexander recorded 9,429 rushing yards and 100 rushing touchdowns.
What’s even crazier is the first season of his career and the last two of his time in Seattle saw Alexander combine for just 1,925 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
So those six years of his prime were just next-level stupid. All six years saw him run for over 1,150 yards. All but one saw him run for over 1,300 yards. He also scored at least 14 times on the ground in each of those seasons.
2005 was the most outrageous. Alexander ran for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns. Seriously.
In 2008, Alexander left Seattle and tried to keep his career going in Washington. He appeared in just four games. He added 24 rushing yards and zero touchdowns to his career numbers.
There were a lot of incredible players that had very short and forgettable runs in Washington. No one had a shorter or more forgettable time than Alexander though. It truly was blink-and-you-missed-it.
And for that, you can’t blame anyone if they simply did not remember that the legendary running back ever even played for the team.