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Redskins by the (Jersey) Numbers: #55 - Chris Hanburger

The greatest linebacker in team history is an easy choice at #55

2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

I usually try to craft a full narrative about a particular player when I write these articles, but Chris Hanburger’s list of accomplishments are so impressive and numerous that just typing them all out is practically enough for an article by itself:

  • First-Team All-Pro in 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976
  • Second-Team All-Pro in 1969 and 1974
  • Made the Pro Bowl in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976
  • Key part of the Redskins’ 1972 NFC Championship-winning team
  • 1972 NFC Defensive Player of the Year (see above)
  • Started 135 consecutive games, a streak that ended due to apendicitis
  • Named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins
  • Washington Redskins Ring of Fame enshrinee
  • 2011 NFL Hall of Fame inductee

I don’t know what else to say about Hanburger. He spent his entire career with the Washington Redskins, and, during that time, was as good a linebacker as there was in the NFL.

He played high-school ball in Virginia for the Hampton Crabbers, then moved on to UNC, where he was an All-ACC performer twice. He was a center and middle linebacker in college, but the somewhat undersized (218 lbs.) Hanburger played outside as a pro.

Hanburger finished his career with 19 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries, five touchdowns, and 46 sacks (which wasn’t an official statistic until 1982). Maybe the only thing more amazing than all of the above is that the Redskins got him in the 18th round of the 1965 NFL Draft! A whopping 244 players were taken before Hanburger.

With all due respect to Sam Huff, who played many of his best years with the Giants, Hanburger is the greatest linebacker in Redskins history. His massive “Approximate Value” of 126 is higher than the next two #55s, Mel Kaufman and Andre Collins, combined. And Kaufman and Collins were both solid players. Throughout his career, Hanburger was known as a smart, tough, consistently outstanding player.

Somehow, it wasn’t until 2011 that Hanburger finally got the recognition he deserved by making the NFL Hall of Fame. But his place in Canton is secure, just as secure as his place at the top of the list of all-time #55s for the Washington Redskins.

Agree? Disagree? Vote and comment below!


Who is the greatest #55 in Redskins history?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Chris Hanburger
    (80 votes)
  • 2%
    Mel Kaufman
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Andre Collins
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Other (comment below)
    (1 vote)
84 votes total Vote Now