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71 days until Bengals' regular-season opener

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There's little debate as to who gains the recognition as the best Bengal to ever wear No. 71.

We're now at 71 days until the Bengals' regular-season opener against the Raiders in Oakland.

It may or may not be the last regular-season opener for Andre Smith in Bengals stripes. The long-time right tackle is entering the final year of his contract and two young tackles are waiting in the wings. There's a decent chance Smith is playing his final year in Cincinnati. Since being drafted as the 6th-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith has started 59 games at RT while missing 28 games due to various injuries.

Here's a look at all of the former Bengals to wear No. 71 in Cincinnati:

Rufus Mayes .................. 1970-1978

Rod Horn ........................ 1980-1981

Pete Koch ....................... 1984

Mike Hammerstein .......... 1986, 1987 (Games 1-2)

John Fletcher .................. 1987 (Games 3-5)

Mike Hammerstein .......... 1987 (Games 6-15), 1988-1990

Ralph Tamm ................... 1991

Garry Howe .................... 1993

Willie Anderson............... 1996-2007

Andre Smith .................... 2009-2015

Smith is probably just the third-best Bengal to ever wear No. 71. Rufus Mayes played in 110 career games with the Bengals in the 70s with 98 starts at LT, RT and LG. Mayes was also a former Ohio State Buckeye, giving him an even stronger case for being the most-liked Bengal to wear No. 71.

However, that honor would probably go to Willie Anderson. Anderson joined Cincinnati during the darkest period of the franchise's history and did nothing but play like one of the game's best RTs. Anderson started 184 career games at RT while being named a First-team All-Pro three times and a Pro-Bowl selection four times.

Anderson is also up for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's missed getting inducted in 2013 and 2014, but should eventually become a Canton enshrinee.