Oakland Raiders: The Franchise’s All Time Starting Team

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November 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fans celebrate during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

SafetyGeorge Atkinson

Atkinson remains one of the hardest hitters in the history of the franchise. He was an intimidating presence in the defensive backfield that often made receivers think twice about catching the ball anywhere near him.

The Raiders no doubt knew and liked that about him when they drafted him in the seventh round (190th pick overall) of the 1968 draft out of Morris Brown. And Atkinson more than lived up to expectations. Another member of Oakland’s Soul Patrol, Atkinson tallied 30 interceptions over his career in Silver and Black – which makes him fifth on the franchise’s career leaders list.

He had some of the most famous – or infamous – in-game battles with Pittsburgh’s Lynn Swann, twice giving him concussions and once rendering him unconscious during a game. Following the second time he concussed Swann, Steelers coach Chuck Noll referred to Atkinson as the league’s “criminal element.”

Atkinson still holds the Raiders’ single game record for punt return yardage with 205 yards he amassed in a game against Buffalo in 1968.

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