Buccaneers jersey countdown: Number 73

Dec 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; A view of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet on the sidelines prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; A view of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet on the sidelines prior to the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Who was the best player in Buccaneers history to wear number 73?

The Buccaneers haven’t been able to boast about a high number of wins very often through the years. Believe it or not, my friends, it hasn’t always been as exciting as it is right now in Tampa Bay. There have been a whole lot of losing seasons, including a winless season to welcome the Bucs to the NFL. Of course everyone reading this is aware, we know where this team has been. I was just having a little Thursday afternoon fun. But, all kidding aside, we know about the tough times, they are what make the current good times that much sweeter.

Throughout the tough times, however, the Bucs have consistently put talented players out on the football field. Even the leanest of lean years brought the likes of Lee Roy Selmon. Some went on to success in other places, like Steve Young, Doug Williams, and Vinny Testaverde. Others made great careers in Tampa, including the likes of Ronde Barber and Warren Sapp. But the constant has been talent.

But who has been the best?

More from The Pewter Plank

We have been going through the years and answering that question. This has been a countdown, in reverse order, of the best players in Bucs history to wear each jersey number.

It has been a long process and we are about one quarter of the way through. It started with number 99, and most recently we have reviewed number 74. Some have been obvious, some have been tougher to decide. Number 73 falls under the second category. Making our way through the linemen numbers can be difficult as their production is obviously harder to quantify. But, we done it anyway and come up with a decision.

Our best player to wear number 73 is Charley Hannah.

Hannah spent his college days playing for the legendary Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama on the defensive side of the football. Hannah remembered a particular game from 1975 against Tennessee (via Scout.com):

"“Coach (Ken) Donahue put together a package of blitzes and containment to try to put pressure on the quarterback,” Hannah said. “I think as a team we had 13 sacks. The cornerback had a couple on blitzes. I think I had three sacks. Bob Baumhower and Leroy Cook had three or four sacks. We came in and had an all out game on the hot Astro Turf,” Hannah proclaimed about the present Alabama team record setting 13 sack performance against the Volunteers."

With that, he was drafted in the third round of the 1977 NFL draft. On entry into the league, Hannah felt he would continue playing defense. Well, he did continue, for just one season with the Bucs before moving to the offensive line. Hannah tells an interesting story on about how he found out he was changing positions (via Scout.com):

"“There’s about three games left in the season and I woke up one morning and opened up the paper. I looked on the sports page and I’m the headline. It says I’m moving to offensive tackle the next year. Well, that’s the first I’d heard of it,” said the surprised would be defensive lineman. McKay summoned the befuddled Hannah to his office to address the story. “He (McKay) said listen, sometimes a sportswriter hears something when he’s half drunk and gets it about half right. We’ve told you you’d make a great offensive lineman but that’s what he heard and there’s nothing to it,” said Hannah about the conflicting messages."

That probably wasn’t the best way to have the player hear the story, but with John McKay leading the way, even he can make that fun. So after playing defensive end through the 1978 season, Hannah was moved to right tackle where he spent the rest of his time with the Bucs (through the 1982 season).

Charley Hannah moved to right guard for the 1979 season, and through 1982, he started 47 out of 52 games. The clearest way to evaluate an offensive lineman is availability. Hannah came to work each and every week. In 1979, he helped Ricky Bell to his only 1,000 yard rushing season (1,263).

Next: How the Bucs linebackers stack up in the NFC South

Hannah didn’t want to leave, but a contract dispute forced his trade to the Los Angeles Raiders. He did make an impact while in Tampa, and that’s why he is the best to wear number 73.