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51 days until Bengals' regular-season opener

Rick Razzano, Ken Avery and Takeo Spikes are the of the more notable former Bengals to wear No. 51 during their careers in Cincinnati.

We may be just a week away from training camp opening, but there's still 51 days until regular-season Bengals football is back.

That means today we're looking at the former players who wore the No. 51 during their careers in Cincinnati:

Ken Avery 1969-74
Chris Devlin 1975-77, ’78 (Game 1)
Tom Ruud . 1978 (Games 9-16), ’79
Rick Razzano 1980-84
Tom Dinkel 1985
Brian Townsend . 1992
Gerald Dixon 1996-97
Takeo Spikes 1998-2002
Kevin Hardy 2003-04
Odell Thurman . 2005-06
Corey Mays 2007-08
Dan Skuta 2009-12
Jayson DiManche 2013-15

The first

The first Bengal to wear No. 51 ended up being the longest-tenured player to wear the number. That was linebacker Ken Avery, who was drafted out of Southern Mississippi by the New York Giants in the 12th round (179th overall) of the 1966 NFL Draft. After two seasons with the big blue, Avery went on to sign with Cincinnati in 1969, where he would go to to play six seasons while appearing in 82 games (42 starts). He would leave to play with the Kansas City Chiefs for one season before calling it a career.

Later, Rick Razzano signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech in 1980. He went on to play in 65 games (10 starts) at linebacker for the Bengals and played for them during their Super Bowl appearance against the San Francisco 49ers in the 1981 season.

The greatest

As for the greatest Bengal to ever wear No. 51, it's hard to argue for anyone other than inside linebacker Takeo Spikes. Drafted out of Auburn in the first round (13th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft, Spikes went on to play and start in 79 games with the Bengals while racking up 447 tackles, 14.5 sacks and five interceptions in Cincinnati. He left in 2002 to sign with the Buffalo Bills, and ended up playing for three more franchises before last appearing with the San Diego Chargers in 2012.


The current Bengals player wearing No. 51 is Jayson DiManche, a former undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois who joined Cincinnati in 2013. DiManche primarily has been used on special teams, but has gotten occasional snaps on defense, where he'll look to take on a bigger role this year in his third season.