Each weekend we announce the best Bengals players to wear a jersey number in franchise history. We make the obvious choices, like Boomer Esiason, Ken Riley, Lemar Parrish, Kenny Anderson while throwing up a poll for our readers to either choose between lesser known players or two well known players. Such as No. 32, worn by two tremendously influential running backs in recent history. We've already announced our first 30 numbers in ten-number segments starting with 1-10, then 11-20 and 21-30.
Now we can announce our next set, numbers 31-40, with explanations below.
|No. 31:||Ickey Woods||RB||1988 (Games 1-8)|
|No. 32:||Rudi Johnson||RB||2001-2007|
|No. 33:||David Fulcher||SS||1986-1992|
|No. 34:||Louis Breeden||CB||1978-1987|
|No. 35:||Boobie Clark||RB||1973|
|No. 36:||Stanford Jennings||RB||1984-1990|
|No. 37:||Tommy Casanova||DB||1972-1977|
|No. 38:||Michael Basnight||RB||1999|
|No. 39:||Sedrick Shaw||RB||1999|
|No. 40:||Charles Alexander||RB||1979-1985|
The list includes players that only wore their respective number, along with another. For example Icky Woods, who is listed as our best player to wear No. 30, played his first eight games during his rookie season wearing No. 31. Boobie Clark, who scored 25 rushing touchdowns in six seasons with the Bengals, wore No. 35 during his rookie season, taking No. 42 in the final five years with Cincinnati.
No. 38 and 39 represented two numbers without much history and factors such as yardage or touchdowns won out. We decided not to run polls on those numbers because we don't think people care, or even know, about names like Estes Banks, Pat Franklin or Champ Henson.
And speaking of our polls, we ran three. Ickey Woods beat out Darryl Williams, winning the poll with 71% of the vote. Stanford Jennings won 84% of the vote over Lenvil Elliot and Brandon Bennett. The poll of interest last week was between Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson. It wasn't even close, with Rudi Johnson securing 84% of the vote.
Our focus this week is going to be on an old defensive back in Tommy Casanova. Many Bengals fans may have heard the name, but may not know the player. Selected in the second round during the 1972 NFL Draft out of LSU, Casanova played six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, winning Pro Bowl berths in four of those seasons. He was a hard-hitting safety with above-average speed, the safety intercepted 17 passes, returned two for touchdowns. He he also returned a punt and fumble for a touchdown.
Football wasn't Casanova's life, so while playing for the Bengals, the safety attended the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, pursuing his M.D, retiring from football in 1977 to study for his medical degree full time. He was also a state senator for Louisiana for a single term, refusing reelection to return to medical practice.