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2014 NFL countdown: 40 days to kickoff, remembering Pat Tillman and No. 40

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40 days!!!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today is a special number. There are 40 days left until the Arizona Cardinals open the 2014 season. We look at number 40 for the Cardinals.

It is one of the numbers that the team has retired. The last player to wear it was Pat Tillman, for whom the number was retired. Tillman made a name for himself at ASU and then, after his rookie contract was done, he walked away from the NFL to join the Army. The story is well known. He died, killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. He is an icon to millions nationwide. That's why no one else will be able to wear it. No. 40: 1998-2001.

Before Tillman, you have to go back to 1991-93. It was worn by cornerback Robert Massey. He was a free agent signee who had played in New Orleans. In his three seasons, his first and third were forgettable, but 1992 he made the Pro Bowl, but mostly as the result of one great game. He had five picks on the season and three returned for touchdowns. Two came in one game.

In 1989, Michael Adams wore it (not the little guy Mike Adams in recent years). He appeared in three games.

Running back Randy Love wore 40 from 1979-85.

In 1978 it was DB Doug Greene.

1972-73 -- DB Eric Washington

1958-68 -- Bobby Conrad (K.FL, DB, HB, WR) -- made a Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro

1955-57 -- DB Lindon Crow

1954 -- DB/HB Bill Bredde

1952 -- HB/DB Wally Triplett

1951 -- DB Billy Gay

There you go. Tillman was solid, but is iconic for what he did serving our country. But when it comes to teh best player of the group. That would have to Conrad.