clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 NFL countdown: 39 days left and Cardinals jersey No. 39

New, comment

It seems not many have used 39.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We are down to 39 days remaining until the start of the regular season for the Arizona Cardinals. We also look at jersey No. 39, which has been a very quiet number historically. Only 12 have worn it since 1950.

It is now worn by running back Robert Hughes, a guy Bruce Arians likes. He is a good special teamer, he blocks pretty well and can catch the ball. While he looks the part of a good short yardage back, he was not good in 2014. He was used six times on third or fourth down and two yards or less to go. He gained only six yards on six carries and one of those carries went for three yards, so he only gained three on those other five carries. Not good. You would think he will make the team, but there are a lot of running backs who could.

Before him, no one of any sort of importance has had it since the early 90s. Safety James Sanders had it when he was here in 2012. But let's go back to a player I remember because he was one of the better players when I first started following the team. That was running back Johnny Johnson.

He was a seventh round pick in 1990 and pretty much an afterthought to start. After all, the team had selected Anthony Thompson in the second round to be their star running back. It was Johnson who made an impact.

He rushed for 925 yards his rookie year and had another 241 yards receiving. Had it not been for Emmitts Smith, who also was a rookie that season and gained 11 more yards as a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys, Johnson probably would have been  (and even still likely should have been) Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Johnson made the Pro Bowl his rookie year.

He was not quite as good in Year 2, his production falling to 666 yards, but had another 734 in 1992 in only 12 games. He was traded to the Jets the next year because the team wanted to drafted Garrison Hearst. That didn't really work out, but Johnson only played two more years in the league.

Are there other 39s you recall? This is the list of everyone since 1950.