In just 63 days, regular-season football will be back for the Cincinnati Bengals. In the meantime, here's a look at the former Bengals who wore No. 63 during their time in Cincinnati.
When it comes to No. 63, it's Joe Walter and everyone else. Walter played 166 games (136 starts) during his 12-year career, all in Cincinnati, and teamed with Anthony Munoz, Bruce Kozerski, Max Montoya, Bruce Reimers and Dave Lapham for a spell. How did he make the team? Per an old story:
In 1985, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Walter in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. The team already had eight offensive linemen and they didn't plan on keeping more than that. However, in a strange twist of fate, one of the returning linemen decided to leave the team to become an Indian reservation tour guide.
Despite being part of the '88 Bengals team that made reached Super Bowl XXIII, Walter tore his ACL in the final regular season game against the Washington Redskins and missed the playoffs. Mike Goff, drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL draft, replaced Walter and strung together a decent six-year career with the Bengals, starting 67 of 85 games before leaving for San Diego after '03.
Bobbie Williams joined the team as a free agent from Philadelphia in '04, starting all but three games through '10. During the '04 season, he played all 1,038 snaps offensive snaps and was the only player accomplish that (among the offensive line) during the regular season. During the following season, Williams was part of an offensive line that only allowed 21 sacks during the regular season, helping the Bengals reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years. This franchise record was short-lived when Williams and company allowed only 17 sacks in '07.
Williams has helped pave the way for running backs like Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson, while protecting quarterbacks like Jon Kitna, Carson Palmer, and Andy Dalton. He has always been considered an above-average run-blocker and pass-blocker, yet without Williams boisterous presence, who knows what the Bengals would have accomplished during his tenure. Eventually the friend turned foe after joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, winning a Super Bowl, primarily as a backup (though with six starts).