Las Vegas Raiders: 50 greatest players in franchise history

A video board displays an Al Davis quote (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A video board displays an Al Davis quote (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

28. . SS. Morris Brown Wolverines. George Atkinson. 47. player

Of course, a fan favorite like strong safety George Atkinson was going to make the list. Atkinson played 10 of his 11 NFL seasons with the Silver and Black coming out of Morris Brown. Right out of the gate, Atkinson would prove to be an impactful player for the Raiders in the AFL. He would make both of his AFL All-Star Games in his first and second years in the league in 1968 and 1969.

Atkinson would first make a name for himself with the Raiders as a brilliant return man. As a rookie in 1968, Atkinson had 1,358 all-purpose yards on 68 combined punt and kick returns for two touchdowns. He would also have four interceptions and force four fumbles in his rookie campaign.

As a second-year player, he would follow up with  573 all-purpose yards on 41 returns. He would have two more interceptions in his second and final AFL All-Star nod. Atkinson would serve as a prominent return man for the Raiders into the 1973 NFL season at age 26. Though that part of the game wouldn’t stick with Atkinson into his late 20s and early 30s, he proved to be a savvy ball-hawk in his 11-year NFL career between the Raiders and AFC West division rival Denver Broncos.

Atkinson retired after the 1979 NFL season with 30 career interceptions, all with the Silver and Black. He was part of the Super Bowl XI championship team in Oakland over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1976 NFL season. Atkinson’s son George Atkinson III would play as a special teams player with the Silver and Black from 2014 to 2016.