Top ten one hit wonders on the Raiders: Six through ten
Every major sports franchise has one-hit wonders, players who rise to the occasion for a single game, a playoff run or even a single season. Whether it be 15 minutes of fame from one shining moment, or a career that started with a flash but ended with little spark, we count down the top 10 biggest one-hit wonders ever in Raiders history.
We will start our countdown by looking at ten to six.
10. Wide receiver Sam Graddy: Al Davis had an obsession with players who possessed speed to burn and Sam Graddy was one of those players. Graddy won a gold medal in 4 × 100 m relay at the 1984 Summer Olympics and that type of performance traditionally caught the eye of Mr. Al Davis. On opening day 1991, Sam Grady had a game for the ages in Houston against the Oilers, catching 3 passes for 102 yards and an 80 yard touchdown. Houston crushed the Raiders 47-17 but Grady was the lone offensive spark in a game in which the Raiders were held to only 286 yards on offense. Graddy joined the Raiders after a two year stint in Denver. During his three years in Los Angeles, Graddy burned the opposition by running past them but when he was given the opportunity to catch passes he almost always dropped them. In 35 games, Grady caught only 17 passes, averaged only 12.8 yards per game played and his butter fingers soon landed him on the Raiders cut list in 1993. Graddy is the poster child for the theory that possessing lots of speed doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful NFL career.
9. Running back Tony Teresa: In 1960 the city of Oakland became the newest urban area to be awarded a professional football team. The Raiders were created at the last minute because the NFL had forced the AFL out of the city of Minneapolis and as a result the AFL’s newest franchise had scrap the bottom of the barrell to find players. One of the players they signed was Tony Teresa, whose career had fizzled out two years earlier in San Francisco. The Raiders made Teresa their starting running back for their inaugural season and this makes him the #9 player on my list. Tony started all 14 games for the 1960 Raiders; scored the first touchdown in franchise history, led the team in rushing with 684 yards and his ten touchdowns led every player on the roster. He also added nearly 400 yards receiving and as an option passer he completed 9 of 18 passes. In Week 10 against Buffalo he took a handoff 83 yards for a touchdown which remained the second longest run in Raiders history until Bo Jackson showed up twenty-seven years later. Still, his performance out performed his talent level and in 1961 the Raiders parted ways with their leading rusher. Now he is a forgotten man in team history.
8. Tight end Mario Perry: During the strike shortened season of 1987 the Los Angeles Raiders possessed many examples of one shot wonders who made the team solely because the team’s regulars were out on the picket line. Mario Perry was one of those “scabs” and he made the most of his opportunity by turning the only reception of his career into his only touchdown. Drafted in the 7th round of the 1987 Draft by the Raiders, Perry was unlikely to make the team but as fate would have it the strike opened the door for him and he made the most of it. Perry played in just three games, started two and in a 30-14 loss at Denver he caught his touchdown on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Vince Evans. To date, he is one of only three Raiders to ever turn his sole career reception into 6 points. Fellow tight end Nick Kasa and tackle Rick Cunningham are the others.
7. Running back Tyrone Montgomery: Running backs are an easy spot to find one shot wonders and in 1993 Ty Montgomery added his illustrious name to this list. Montgomery came from a large family that seemed to breed football players. His brother was famed running back Wilbert Montgomery and another brother Cle Montgomery played for the Raiders from 1981 to 1985. A few months earlier, Montgomery had signed a one year deal to bolster the Raiders running back corps after Marcus Allen departed the team via free agency and veteran Gaston Green was cut. During the 1993 preseason Montgomery was the team’s leading rusher in two of their exhibition contests, prompting the team to keep him on the roster for the season. During the first fifteen games of the season he carried the ball only 23 times for 62 yards and often times his tiny 190 pound frame made him an easy tackle for defenders. Starting running back Greg Robinson tore his ACL and was lost for the season, paving the way for Montgomery to take over. In the season finale the Raiders had to beat Denver to make the postseason and Montgomery was named the team’s starting running back. Montgomery rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries that day, nearly eclipsing his career totals and the Raiders beat Denver in overtime. In the Raiders two postseason games he outdid even himself by carrying 24 times for 72 yards. Although he didn’t provide the punch at running back that the Raiders needed, Montgomery took advantage of his opportunity by carrying 37 times for 122 yards during his three games of NFL glory. In 1994, the Raiders brought in running back Harvey Williams to be the starter and Montgomery was once again buried on team’s depth chart. He scored his only touchdown that season and the following year he was cut to make space for Napoleon Kaufman.
6. Running back Craig Ellis:Ellis was another scab player who graced the Raiders roster during the strike shortened 1987 season. One year earlier, Ellis had been cut from the Miami Dolphins after rushing for 6 yards on three carries. It looked like his career was over until Al Davis and the silver and black came calling. The 1987 season is better remembered by Raider fans for the heroics of Bo Jackson on Monday Night Football but a few weeks earlier it was Craig Ellis who was the team’s starter in a week four matchup against Kansas City. In a game full of scabs on both sides it was Ellis who shined brightest, rushing for a career high 70 yards and two touchdowns,guiding the Raiders to a 35-17 victory. Los Angeles fans knew Ellis well, in 1977 he set the city’s single game rushing record with 367 yards but he never eclipsed that total in his entire NFL career which lasted just 12 games. In 1988 he was cut and he drifted to the CFL where he set a league record with 106 receptions during the 1990 season.