Lance Alworth, widely considered to be the best player in AFL history. "Bambi" had a rare combination of athletic ability and grace, leading to a stellar career and his eventual Hall of Fame induction in 1978 (the first AFL player inducted into the Hall Of Fame). He is #1 in team history with 9584 yards receiving, and he also holds team records for receiving yards in a season, and average yards per catch (season and career), career receiving TD's, and most consecutive games with a catch.
Other wide receivers nominated as Greatest Chargers Ever include:
Wes gained 6132 yards receiving as a Charger between 1981-1987, while scoring 41 TD's over that timeframe. Wes was the replacement for John Jefferson, after JJ was traded to Green Bay following an ill-advised hold-out. His 129-yards per game in 1982 is still an NFL record.
Nicknamed The Ghost, I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about Gary Garrison. If you can believe Wikipedia, he holds the SDSU record for TD receptions with 26, and played for the Bolts from 1966-1976, gaining 7533 yards and scoring 58 TD's. Gary had some good years for the Chargers following their AFL Championship era, but I'm afraid that he may lose out in fan voting based in a lack of name recognition alone.
JJ spent 3 spectacular years with the Chargers, becoming the first player to gain 1000+ yards receiving in each of his first three years in the league. He easily could have been the Greatest Charger Ever...had he not decided to hold-out before the 1981 season. The hold-out got his talented hands and inflated ego kicked off the team, and he never had another 1000+ yard season in his career.
Joiner played 11-years for the Chargers, gaining 9203 yards receiving and scoring 47 TD's for the team. Joiner was extremely reliable and built a special bond with QB Dan Fouts throughout the Air-Coryell years. He made the Pro Bowl 4-times, and has the distinction of being the last AFL player to retire from Pro-Football. At the time of his retirement, Joiner was the NFL career leader with 750 receptions. Bill Walsh called Joiner "the most intelligent, the smartest, the most calculating receiver the game has ever known."
Martin was a Charger from 1994 to 1997, teaming with QB Stan Humphries to average over 1000-yards per year as a Bolt, by far the best 4-year period of his career. Most memorably, Martin was on the receiving end of the longest reception in team history, a 99-yard catch and dash to the end-zone in 1994. He also scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XXIX.
Anthony Miller was a great wide receiver on some bad Chargers teams, leaving before the team's 1994 Super Bowl season. As a Charger he gained 5582 yards receiving and scored 37 TD's. As the team's only serious receiving threat for most of his career, he averaged 930 yards per year with the Bolts.
Norton was one of the stars of the early Sid Gillman Chargers' teams until the arrival of Lance Alworth. He played from 1960-1966, gaining 3486 yards receiving and scoring 27 TD's. In 1961 and 1962 Norton was an AFL All-Star.
Charger fans, you get to pick five receivers from this list- far too many in my opinion. The problem that most fans will have is deciding between a few names who don't immediately come to mind when you think about the Greatest Chargers Ever. Hopefully this will help you give guys like Garrison and Norton their due.
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