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Top 10 Active Non-Fantasy Ageless Wonders

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 02, 2015



 

Top 13 Active Non-Fantasy Ageless Wonders

The average age for current NFL players is just over 26 years old. Most of the pro players don't play past the age of 30 due mainly to injuries. Of course, there have been exceptions. Most of the players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame have played at least into their early thirties. And each season there are quarterbacks and placekickers playing at the top of their game well past the age of 35. This season it's no exception: At 39 years old, Peyton Manning still is leading the Denver Broncos to an undefeated record so far. Tom Brady, at 38, also is helping the New England Patriots to a 3-0 start and is leading the NFL in passing yards. Carson Palmer, at 36, also is leading the Arizona Cardinals to a perfect record so far and is second in the league in touchdown passes. While Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Josh McCown (the other three quarterbacks who are 35 years or older who started the season) are on injured reserve or missed time due to injuries, 35-year old Michael Vick is slated to fill in for the injured Ben Roethlisberger for the Pittsburgh Steelers (for the record, the oldest active quarterback is 40-year old Matt Hasselbeck, who is in his third season with the Indianapolis Colts backing up Andrew Luck).

Amongst kickers, Adam Vinatieri (the NFL oldest active player at 43), has become the league 3rd all-time leading scorer, and 36-year old Josh Brown is second in the NFL in scoring this season, and 40-year old Matt Bryant also is in the top 10 in scoring. And although he has announced this will be his last season, 36-year old wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. has been one of the few bright spots for the Baltimore Ravens so far in 2015. Another 35-year old wide receiver has started every game, Anquan Boldin of the San Francisco 49ers.

But in these times of Fantasy Football and stats everywhere, the non-skill position players (offensive linemen, defensive players, and special team non-placekickers) have been forgotten. Currently, there are 24 active players who are 35 years or older, eleven of them are quarterbacks, wide receivers, placekickers and one tight end (Antonio Gates, who is currently serving a 4-game suspension), the other thirteen are non-Fantasy players. I believe it's time to recognize these long-standing football players. A couple of years ago, NFL Network had a show named "The top 10 Ageless Wonders", where long-time standouts like Brett Favre, George Blanda, Jim Marshall, Morten Andersen and Bruce Matthews, amongst other greats, were featured. Surprisingly, there is no active offensive lineman who is at least 34 years old (The oldest is Logan Mankins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ left guard, who is 33 years old and in his 11th season). So these are the 2015 NFL season top non-skill ageless wonders:

 

1.- Kevin Williams (defensive tackle, New Orleans Saints, 35 years old)

Williams is in his first season in New Orleans after playing the past season with the Seattle Seahawks, where he appeared in his first Super Bowl. Previously, he starred for 11 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings, where he was selected to 6 Pro Bowls and 5 times was named All-Pro, being a part of the famous “Williams Wall” with fellow 300-pound defensive tackle Pat Williams. Kevin Williams replaced veteran Brodrick Bunkley, who failed his physical, and has been a starter in two of the Saints’ first three games. He has 4 career defensive touchdowns.

 

2.-  Cory Redding (defensive end, Arizona Cardinals, 35 years old)

Redding is in his first season in Arizona after starting the previous three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Previously, he also played with the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions, the team Redding started his pro career in 2003. Interestingly, his teams have appeared in the playoffs in the past five seasons and he will try to make six straight trips to the postseason with the Cardinals. Redding replaced veteran Darnell Dockett, who went to the San Francisco 49ers but was released just before the season began.

 

3.- Julius Peppers (defensive end/linebacker, Green Bay Packers, 35 years old)

Peppers is in second season in Green Bay after playing the previous four seasons with the Chicago Bears. Previously, he starred for seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, were he was one of the top defenders of the 2000s decade. In total, Peppers has 8 Pro Bowl selections and 4 times has been named All-Pro, and this season he has started all three games, and has already 2.5 sacks (for the record, he is 14th all-time in career sacks since they became official stats in 1982), and just last season, his first as a Packer and in a new position (left outside linebacker), the 6-6, 283-pound Peppers returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He has 6 career defensive touchdowns.

 

4.- James Harrison (linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers, 37 years old)

Harrison missed the cut in last year’s list because he had been retired after playing in 2013 with the Cincinnati Bengals. But after the Steelers called him the past October, Harrison responded with 5.5 sacks and 47 tackles (29 solo) in 11 games. In 2015 he returned to the Steelers, playing in passing situations. The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has been a valuable contributor of the new Steel Curtain defense, and has played in three Super Bowls, winning two. Harrison has 5 Pro Bowl selections and 2 times has been named All-Pro in his 12 previous seasons with the Steelers.

 

5.- Calvin Pace (linebacker, New York Jets, 35 years old)

Pace is in his eight season with the Jets after starting his pro career witgh the Arizona Cardinals, whom he played his first five seasons. He has not missed a game since 2010 and has started 78 straight games at right outside linebacker for the Jets.

 

6.- Charles Woodson (cornerback/safety, Oakland Raiders, 39 years old)

The oldest active defensive player in the NFL, Woodson has been one of the few bright spots since he returned to the Raiders for the past three seasons (previously, he played seven seasons in Green Bay, where he won a Super Bowl title). He has intercepted a pass for the 18th straight season (second all-time, Hall of Famer Darrell Green intercepted at least a pass in 19 seasons) and only Peyton Manning has started more games amongst active players. If he can return another interception for a touchdown, he will tie Hall of Famer Rod Woodson's record with 12. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is a sure lock for the Hall of Fame when he will decide to retire.
 

7.- Terance Newman (cornerback, Minnesota Vikings, 37 years old)

While Woodson has been playing at safety for the past three seasons, Newman is the oldest starting cornerback in the league, not an easy task with today's world-class-speedster wide receivers. He is in his first season in Minnesota, after playing the last three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Previously, he starred for nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was selected to two Pro Bowls. Newman currently is in 3rd place in interceptions amongst active players.

 

8.- Rashean Mathis (cornerback, Detroit Lions, 35 years old)

Mathis is in his third season in Detroit after playing his first ten seasons in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 2006 All-Pro cornerback has been a steady player and currently is in 5th place in interceptions amongst active players. Mathis is one of only 3 current players who attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

 

9.- Shane Lechler (punter, Houston Texans, 39 years old)

In his 16th season, Lechler has no sign of slowing down and has not missed a game since 2002 (he is the all-time leader in punting average with a 47.5 yard/punt average). The future Hall of Famer, who is in his third year in Houston after starring for 13 seasons with the Oakland Raiders, is searching for an all-time record 8th Pro Bowl selection and 7th All-Pro selection as a punter.

 

10.- Donnie Jones (punter, Philadelphia Eagles, 35 years old)

Jones is playing with his 5th team in his 12th-year career (previously he played with the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and the Houston Texans) and currently is ranked 7th this season in punting average. Jones is in his third season with the Eagles and twice has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He is 10th all-time in punting average.

 
11.-  Mike Scifres (punter, San Diego Chargers, 35 years old)

The only player in this list who has played for the same team in his NFL career, Scifres is playing in his 13th season with San Diego and twice has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. He is 11th all-time in punting average.

 

12.- Mike Leach (long snapper, Arizona Cardinals, 39 years old)

The 16th year veteran Leach has been one of the top long snappers for the past decade. He is in his 7th season in Arizona after starting his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2000. He moved to the Denver Broncos in 2002, where he played seven seasons. Leach has not missed a game since 2002. Although he is also a tight end, he has never caught a pass in the NFL.

 

13.- Jon Dorenbos (long snapper, Philadelphia Eagles, 35 years old)

Last, but not least, the 13th year veteran Dorenbos (as Mike Leach) has been one of the top long snappers for the past decade. He was selected to his second Pro Bowl after last season (his first was in 2009) and he is in his 10th season in Philadelphia after starting his career with the Buffalo Bills in 2003. He moved to the Tennessee Titans in 2005, where he played one and a half seasons before moving to Philly. Outside of football, Dorenbos is a professional magician and has performed in Las Vegas and Hollywood since his college years with the Texas-El Paso Miners.


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