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Veterans Of Cincinnati: Best Bengals Players To Wear No. 51 - No. 60 All-Time

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As we pointed out last weekend, we decided to leave Rey Maualuga off the ballot for the best franchise player that's worn No. 58. Our point was this: He's the most recent, often in the news and our posts. It wouldn't matter what any other player did, Maualuga would be favored because his name is the most recognizable; most celebrated today. It wouldn't matter what we wrote, because polls tend to stand out before the readers make a judgmental call based on the information that we're presenting; rather using the poll's question as a determination of the selection. The comments from two respected community members suggested that the poll should be entirely the fan's choice. Largely, it is. But there are times that we feel we have to preserve the integrity of our selections; much like the Electoral College.

There's actually an example where this happened over the same weekend. Knowing that the Maualuga omission would be somewhat controversial, I decided to run with it.

In another of our weekly polls last week, the best player that wore No. 59 was Brandon Johnson, not Landon Johnson. Let's compare. Landon Johnson averaged 98.5 tackles over four seasons with the Bengals while his poll contemporary career-high 83 tackles falls 15 tackles short of Landon's average. Landon forced nine fumbles, Brandon has none. Landon scored a touchdown, Brandon hasn't. Landon started 53 games with the Bengals, at all three linebacker sports. Brandon has 15 starts over three seasons. Brandon is a fine linebacker and he should be a high free agent priority. Better than Landon? We just don't see it. So if you picked Brandon Johnson over Landon, tell us why.

But since the poll received a perceived unfairness because Maualuga was left off the list, the same linebacker that's averaged less than 70 tackles over two seasons, we'll rerun the poll at the bottom of this post to see what happens. Here's a brief recap of the other players.

Al Beauchamp could be argued as the best player of all-time to wear No. 58. A fifth round selection during the team's inaugural draft in 1968, Beauchamp posted 15 interceptions in eight seasons with the Bengals, 144 yards on interception returns and three touchdowns (two on interceptions and one on a fumble recovery). Beauchamp also recovered seven fumbles with the Bengals.

Steve Tovar, a Bengals linebacker from 1993-1997, posted seven interceptions, six forced fumbles, three recoveries while often leading the Bengals in tackles during 73-game (56 starts) career in Cincinnati. Maualuga has yet to surpass Tovar in most statistical categories, leaving him as the promising defensive powerhouse linebacker in the future.

Blair Bush, one of the Bengals first round picks (16th overall) during the 1978 NFL Draft, started 65 games during his five-year career in Cincinnati, was the team's starting center during Super Bowl XVI. Some will argue that Bush was more of a disappointment than a great on the Bengals roster. Maybe. But Bush did play 17 years in the NFL, retiring after playing 246 games with teams like the Seahawks, Packers and Rams.

Moving on.

Here's the best players that wore numbers 51-60 in franchise history.

Number Pos. Years
No. 51: Takeo Spikes LB 1998-2002
No. 52: Dave Rimington C 1984-1985
No. 53: Bo Harris LB 1975-1982
No. 54: Bob Johnson C 1968-1979
No. 55: Jim LeClair LB 1972-1983
No. 56: Brian Simmons LB 1998-2006
No. 57: Reggie Williams LB 1976-1989
No. 58: (poll below)
No. 59: Brandon Johnson LB 2008-2010
No. 60: Ron Pritchard LB 1972-1977