Punishing players have worn the No. 53 with the Raiders
By Brad Weiss
With 53 days until the opening game of 2020, we start the count down with the best Raiders player at every jersey number. Today we focus on No. 53.
With the season a few months away, we take a look at the best player to wear the jersey number of the number of days left before the opener on September 13, 2020 against the Carolina Panthers. That game will kick off the new era of Raiders football.
We continue our series with No. 53.
The No. 53 has been worn by some punishing defensive players for the Raiders, including some who absolutely struck fear in the opponent’s eyes. In 1962, Dan Birdwell began his career with the Silver and Black, putting on the No. 53, and joining a defensive line that played a key role in the team’s 1967 AFL title.
Thomas Howard was a second round pick out of UTEP for the franchise, and would go on to spend five seasons in Oakland. Howard was a Day 1 starter for the team, and through his first three seasons, did not record less than 96 tackles. In 2006, Howard hauled in six interceptions to go along with his 96 tackles.
Bill Romanowski came to the Silver and Black for a short time in the early 2000s, but he personified the way the franchise liked to do business on the defensive side of the ball. Romo started all 16 games for the 2002 team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl, serving as an emotional leader.
There were also guys like Rob Fredrickson and Malcolm Smith who donned the No. 53, and they both made their impacts. Currently, UDFA Javin White wears No. 53, and will be looking to make the team during an offseason with no preseason games.
With that said, the best Raider to wear No. 53 came up big for the franchise in the biggest of scenarios.