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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Top-15 Players in Cincinnati Bengals History

The Top-15 Players in Cincinnati Bengals History

Cincinnati's greatest
Publish Date: 01/23/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
Source: NBC Sports

I am limiting this list to retired players only; we will be making a list like this for every NFL team over the next few months; feel free to leave comments and tear my list apart!

15) David Fulcher, S

At 6’3″, 236 pounds, David Fulcher was a force to be reckoned with in the secondary for the Bengals in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. Fulcher was safety in a linebacker’s body. Fulcher wore the stripes from 1986-to 1992. Fulcher attended three-straight Pro Bowls between 1988-1990. Fulcher snagged 17 interceptions in those three seasons, making him one of the most feared safeties in the NFL.

One of the hardest hitting safeties in Bengals history. Fulcher played in 103 games as a Bengal, starting in 98. He had 8.5 sacks and 31 interceptions, which placed him third in Bengals history.

14) Carl Pickens, WR

Pickens played in 120 games in Cincinnati and started in 110 of them. Pickens was awarded back-to-back Pro Bowl selections in 1995 and 1996. Pickens also held the Bengals record for receiving touchdowns in a career and a season. His 63 receiving touchdowns remained No. 1 until 2010.

Blake to Pickens was one of the lone highlights during the ’90s for the Bengals franchise.

13) Chad Johnson, WR

Despite any negative feelings fans may have towards Chad-the-person, Chad-the-football-player was pretty fun to watch and deserves to be considered one of the greatest Bengals of all time. Too bad the attitude at the end of his tenure is what will remain with most Bengals fans.

12) Cris Collinsworth, WR

It played a big part in the Bengals turnaround in 1981, leading to the team’s first Super Bowl appearance. Collinsworth was the Bengal’s first 1,000-yard receiver and finished his career with four such seasons. He was the all-time receiving leader when he finished his career and attended the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons.

11) James Brooks, RB

Running back James Brooks carried the ball for Cincinnati from 1984-to 1991. He earned a spot in the Pro Bowl four times and rushed for 6,447 yards during his career.

Brooks played in 118 games while playing for the Bengals, and he started in 106 of them. Brooks played a vital role in the Bengals’ success in the late 80s and into the 90s, earning him a spot as one of the greatest Bengals ever.

10) Corey Dillon, RB

Former Bengals running back Corey Dillon left Cincinnati as their all-time leading rusher, with 8,061 yards on 1,865 carries. He was the most dominant running back in the history of the team.

Dillon played in 107 games as a Bengal, starting 95 of them. Dillon also added 192 catches for 1,482 receiving yards.

Dillon was selected to the Pro Bowl three times during his career between 1999-2001. During his career, Mike Brown proved utterly inept at putting a supporting cast around him. Some fans didn’t like the way he left the team, but in the end, can anybody blame him?

9) Tim Krumrie, NT

Anchoring the Bengals defense for 12 years, Krumrie earned two trips to the Pro Bowl in 1987 and 1988. Krumrie played in 188 games in Cincinnati, fourth-most in team history, and started 161 of them.

Krumrie was a hard-nosed, relentless player whose motor earned him over a decade in the NFL and a reservation as one of the best Bengals ever. He led the Bengals 1988 defense which won the AFC Championship and the 1990 AFC Central championship team. One of the toughest SOB’s ever to wear a Bengals uniform.

8) Boomer Esiason, QB

Boomer played in 134 games in Cincinnati, starting 123 of them. Esiason’s 27,149 passing yards are second in Bengal’s history. Boomer’s performance against the Rams in 1990, in which he threw for 490 yards, remains the best passing performance in Bengals history.

Esiason was named 1988 NFL MVP while leading the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII also led the Bengals to the last playoff win in team history in January 1991.

7) Lemar Parrish, DB

Parrish played for the Bengals From 1970 to 1977. During that time, he started all 105 games that he played in and was selected to six Pro Bowls, tied for second in franchise history.

Parrish’s Cincinnati career was highlighted on December 17, 1972, when Parrish returned two interceptions for touchdowns against the Houston Oilers. Parrish was the most remarkable return man in Bengal’s history and, in my opinion, top two as a cornerback.

6) Isaac Curtis, WR

Isaac Curtis accounted for 7,101 receiving yards on 416 catches; Curtis finished his career as the Bengals best-ever receiver. Curtis was one of the smoothest receivers in NFL history, with his trademark TD celebration of just flipping the ball over his shoulder.

Curtis played in 167 games over his 12-year career in Cincinnati. He totaled 53 TD receptions during his career and was a rare blend of size and speed that began an evolution at the wide receiver position, and it has led us to the physical specimens were used to seeing today.

5) Willie Anderson, OT

Suiting up in stripes for 12 years, Anderson was a staple on the offensive line from 1996 to 2007. Anderson was selected to four-straight Pro Bowls from 2003-2006β€”the second most of any Bengals offensive lineman. Anderson played in 181 games for Cincinnati.

If the first seven years of his career wouldn’t have been stuck in the abyss that was the Cincinnati Bengals, he maybe is in Canton today; he should be no matter where he played. Anderson was and is the best right tackle in Bengals history, and it’s mind-blowingly stupid that he has not been asked to be the offensive line coach.

4) Reggie Williams, LB

Maybe a controversial ranking in some people’s eyes, but Reggie Williams was the heart of the Bengals defense for not one but two Super Bowl runs. Williams is also second in Bengal’s history in games played with 206 and third in consecutive games played with 137. He also holds the franchise record for fumble recoveries with 23.

3) Ken Riley, DB

Rileys 65 career interceptions rank first in franchise history. The closet to his 65 is 30 behind. Riley somehow never made a pro bowl during his time in Cincinnati.

Riley’s 15 seasons spent in Cincinnati rank second all-time, but his 207 games played are more than anyone ever to wear the stripes. Not only was Riley effective on the field, but he was on the field for a while. More importantly, he was just as effective at the end of his career as at the start.

2) Ken Anderson, QB

No one wore a Bengals uniform longer than Ken Anderson. Quarterbacking Cincinnati for 16 years, Anderson started in 172 of his 192 games between 1971-1986. Not only is Anderson’s longevity impressive, but his numbers were as well.

Anderson remains the franchise leader in passing yards with 32,838. His 197 touchdown passes also ranks first for the Bengals.

Named 1981 NFL MVP, he led the Bengals to the first Super Bowl appearance in team history.

1) Anthony Munoz, OT

Munoz started 183 of 185 games for Cincinnati between 1980 and 1992. His 185 games played ranks him fifth in Bengal’s history. He anchored an offensive line that made it to the Super Bowl in 1981 and 1988 and performed well enough to make 11 consecutive Pro Bowls from 1981-91.

This was an easy pick for number one, maybe the most dominant offensive tackle in NFL history and the only Bengals inductee in the pro football hall of fame.


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