The battle for the honor of being the Redskins’ all-time #40 is a tight contest.
On the one hand, there’s Lonnie Sanders. Sanders was a cornerback for Washington in the 1960s. He recorded nine interceptions in five seasons for the Redskins, with a career-best four picks in 1965 (a season in which he only played seven games).
On the other hand, there’s Alvin Walton. Walton was a hard-hitting safety for the Redskins from 1986 through 1991, spending four of those seasons as the regular starter. He picked off 12 passes and recorded five sacks during that span.
A few things work against Sanders. First, he played during some very lean years in Redskins history. Washington didn’t post a single winning season during Sanders’ tenure.
While we can’t blame an NFL team’s record on one player, the 1960s Redskins stand in sharp contrast to the era in which Walton played. His Redskins posted winning records all but one season, making the playoffs four times and winning a pair of Super Bowls. Walton recorded a pair of sacks in Washington’s Super Bowl XXII victory over the Broncos.
Walton also played his entire NFL career for the Redskins. Again, that’s not decisive, but it counts for something. Sanders moved on to St. Louis after his stint in DC, finishing his career as a Cardinal. To be fair, Sanders actually liked Washington so much that he stuck around—he still lives here, in fact!
Finally, the “Approximate Value” system used by Pro Football Reference also gives the edge to Walton. Walton racked up a total of 29 AV points during his time in the NFL, which, as noted above, he spent entirely in Washington. On the other hand, Simmons accumulated 28 points, but only 21 of those came in DC.
As such, I think Alvin Walton—one of the few players to win titles in both the NFL and CFL—narrowly takes the crown for the best Redskin to wear #40.
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Who is the greatest #40 in Redskins history?
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