The Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) are one of the most storied and successful football teams in the history of the NFL. Since becoming a franchise in 1932, the team has won five titles, including three Super Bowl victories.
While the track record hasn’t been great in the last couple of decades, this is a team that has been around a long time and has had a lot of success along the way. With such a deep history, we’d need a list of more than 10 players to mention all of the greats. So for this article, we’re only going to focus on players from the Super Bowl era.
Now that we have that straight, let’s look at the key players that have defined the franchise and created winning memories for the Burgundy and Gold.
10. Monte Coleman, LB
Monte Coleman was all about longevity and perseverance. He played 16 years for the franchise during its heyday and, by the end of it all, found himself as an esteemed member of the team’s ‘Ring of Fame.’
The 6-3, 240-pound outside linebacker ran a blazing 4.40 40-yard dash and had 6% body fat during his prime. Coleman always considered himself an underdog and put it on himself to work harder than anyone else on the field.
He played in four Super Bowls (winning three) and finished with 56.5 sacks, 17 interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries, and 1,009 tackles (653 solo).
9. Joe Theismann, QB
Joe Theismann is remembered as not only the Commanders’ leading passer of all time and a Super Bowl champion, but he’s also known for suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of football.
Theismann holds numerous Commanders records, including most pass attempts (3,602), most completions (2,044), most passing yards (25,206), and most attempts without an interception (162).
While not a Hall of Fame quarterback, Theismann led one of the most dominant offenses in NFL history during the 1983 season when it broke the league record at the time for points scored.
8. Ryan Kerrigan, LB
The Commanders took Ryan Kerrigan in the first round of the 2011 draft, and it proved to be an excellent choice.
In his 10 seasons with the Burgundy and Gold, Kerrigan played in all but four regular-season games. The outside linebacker is the team’s all-time leader in sacks and forced fumbles with 95.5 and 26, respectively.
Kerrigan was known as a game-changer for his ability to create turnovers. He made a splash right out of the gate in his debut as a Commander with a pick-six against the New York Giants’ Eli Manning.
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7. London Fletcher, LB
London Fletcher defied the odds his entire career and is often recognized as one of the most underrated players in NFL history. Fletcher was an undrafted free agent who eventually signed with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.
He spent the first half of his career with the Rams and Buffalo Bills before heading to Washington for a career-defining seven seasons.
Fletcher personified toughness, finishing his career having never missed a contest with 256 consecutive games played. An unthinkable stat for the linebacker position.
Fletcher made four Pro Bowls with Washington and finished his career with 2,039 combined tackles, second only to Ray Lewis in NFL history.
6. Dexter Manley, DE
Manley was taken in the fifth round by Washington in the 1981 NFL draft, and it turned out to be a steal.
The fearless defensive end played nine seasons in Washington and held the record for sacks (91) until it was recently broken by Kerrigan.
Manley won two Super Bowl titles with the Commanders and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1986 when he broke the team’s single-season sack record with 18.5.
He was nicknamed “The Secretary of Defense” during his time with Washington and is a member of the team’s Ring of Fame.
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5. Charley Taylor, RB
This lifelong Commander started his career as a running back after Washington selected him in the first round out of Arizona State.
Taylor played his entire 13-year career with the Commanders and still holds the team record for most touchdowns scored with 90 (79 receiving, 11 rushing).
Taylor helped Washington make it to the Super Bowl in 1972 and was selected to the Pro Bowl on eight occasions.
He is second only to Art Monk in team history for receptions (649) and receiving yardage (9,110) and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.
4. John Riggins, RB
John Riggins will go down in history for his incredible 43-yard game-winning touchdown run on 4th and 1 against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. He rushed for 166 yards in that game and was named its MVP, leading Washington to its first Super Bowl title.
Riggins remains the Commanders’ all-time leader in rushing yards (7,472) and rushing TDs (79). The man they called “Riggo,” or “Diesel,” was known for his powerful style and longevity.
At the age of 34, he broke the NFL single-season rushing touchdown record with 24 trips to paydirt. He again led the league in rushing TDs the next season at age 35. Riggins was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
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3. Chris Hanburger, LB
Chris Hanburger spent his entire 14-year career with Washington and was selected to the Pro Bowl a team-record nine times during that span.
A vicious tackler, Hanburger earned the nickname “The Hangman” for his clothesline-style takedowns.
Hanburger was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 on the way to helping lead his team to its first Super Bowl appearance. He was a turnover-creating machine during his time in Washington and finished his career with 19 interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries, and five defensive touchdowns.
Hanburger punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame in 2011.
2. Art Monk, WR
The Commanders selected Art Monk with the first pick in the 1980 draft, and boy, are they glad they did.
Monk wasted no time in his rookie year, hauling in a Washington rookie-record 58 catches on his way to being named a unanimous All-Rookie selection. It only went up from there.
Monk broke numerous Commanders’ receiving records, including receptions, receiving yards, and yards from scrimmage. He also holds the NFL record for most consecutive seasons with a touchdown (15) and most seasons with at least 35 receptions (15).
In 2008, Monk was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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1. Darrell Green, CB
Darrell Green is not just the Commanders’ greatest player of all-time, but he’s also one of the best cornerbacks to ever play the game of football.
Green was selected in the first round by Washington in the 1983 NFL Draft and went on to play his entire career (1983-2002) with the Commanders. The first time Green ever touched a football in the NFL, he turned it into a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons in a preseason game.
Known as one of the fastest players in NFL history, Green won the ‘NFL’s Fastest Man’ competition on four occasions.
In his 20-year career, Green had 54 interceptions (including six for touchdowns) and 10 fumble recoveries (two for touchdowns).
Green played until the age of 42 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
AP Photo/Doug Mills