It's not the most distinguished number in football. Alright, there's Sweetness, Walter Payton. But it's a tough sell from there. The first name for #34 that pops into my head is the Buffalo Bills' Jim Braxton, the tough fullback who went in all the directions OJ Simpson would not go and who blocked for OJ in the 70's. Braxton did not live to see OJ's murderous path to disgrace because big Jim died prematurely of lung cancer in 1986.
|Walt Michaels, circa 1958|
|Dwight Lowery #34|
Nor is Kenyon Rasheed. Actually, if you want to know about Rasheed, you might do best to read his article on life after the pros, with all of its psychological and professional challenges. That he is currently the CEO of something called Rasheed & Associates makes me a little skeptical, but when I look elsewhere, I see he is also a restauranteur and the founder of a sports consulting firm. So, who am I to say? This is a man who had to endure his last pro year in #34 during the abysmal 1995 season.
Finally, Lee White wore #34 from 1968 to 1970, putting him squarely on the roster when the Jets won the championship. However, I've never seen a clip of him on the field. This does not mean he was not there. It just means that Ed Sabol's team on the ground didn't bother with him. White then moved onto the Los Angeles Rams in 1971, but the Wiki says rather cryptically that "At the Rams he played several games, but found it hard to settle into the area." Huh. The year after that, he played a single season for the Chargers of San Diego. What was it about LA? The smog? the traffic? the women? The uncomfortable slacks in the noonday sun? Will we ever know?