The All-Time Kentucky NFL Team
George Blanda, Dermontti Dawson and more
George Blanda set an NFL record by playing 26 seasons for the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders.
Blanda won NFL MVP awards from United Press International with both the Houston Oilers (1961) and the Oakland Raiders (1970). He led leagues in both passing and scoring, throwing 4,000 career passes and kicking 247 career field goals. He went to four Pro Bowls and won three AFL championships.
But longevity in the NFL seems to be a shared Kentucky trait of Blanda and offensive linemen produced by the Wildcats. Jeff Van Note played 18 seasons at center for the Atlanta Falcons, starting 226 games. Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson started 181 career games for the Pittsburgh Steelers and two other Kentucky centers, Will Grant and Dan Neal, started 90-plus games in their NFL careers.
Four Kentucky guards also were members of the 100-start club in the NFL — Todd Perry 144 games, Irv Goode 132, Bob Talamini 113 and Larry Warford 101. Tackle Bob Fry also started 119 games for the Los Angeles Rams (1950s) and Dallas Cowboys (1960s).
And there was plenty of quality to go with all that quantity. Dawson went to seven Pro Bowls, Van Note six, Talamini and Warford three apiece and Goode two.
Here is the all-time Kentucky NFL team:
QB—George Blanda, Hall of Fame
RB—Doug Kotar, 7 seasons, 3,380 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns
RB—Mark Higgs, 8 seasons, 2,959 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns
*-WR—Randall Cobb, Pro Bowl, 11 seasons, 591 receptions, 52 touchdowns
WR—Steve Johnson, 8 seasons, 3 1,000-yard seasons
TE—Jacob Tamme, 9 seasons, 259 receptions, 14 touchdowns
T—Bob Fry, 10 seasons, 119 starts
T—Wendell Bryant, 8 seasons, 94 starts
G—Bob Talamini, 6 Pro Bowls, 9 seasons, 113 starts
G—Larry Warford, 3 Pro Bowls, 7 seasons, 101 starts
C—Dermontti Dawson, Hall of Fame
DE—Art Still, 4 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 80 sacks
*-DE—Josh Allen, Pro Bowl, 3 seasons, 20 ½ sacks
DT—Bob Gain, 5 Pro Bowls, 12 seasons, 117 starts
DT—Cory Peters, 11 seasons, 132 starts, 19 sacks
*-OLB—Za’Darius Smith, 2 Pro Bowls, 7 seasons, 44 ½ sacks
MLB—Frank LeMaster, Pro Bowl, 9 seasons, 115 starts
OLB—John Grimsley, Pro Bowl, 9 seasons, 88 starts
CB—D.J. Johnson, 8 seasons, 19 interceptions
*-CB—Brandin Echols, Started 14 games as a rookie in 2021
S—Marlon McCree, 8 seasons, 16 interceptions
S—Maurice Douglas, 11 seasons, 6 interceptions
K—George Blanda, Hall of Fame
P—Larry Seiple, 11 seasons, 633 punts, 2 Super Bowl rings
KR—Marc Logan, 89 kickoff returns, 1 touchdown
ST—Wesley Woodyard, 12 seasons, early ST ace of Denver Broncos