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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Ivan Lambert

Commanders season opener in 50 days: Washington’s best No. 50

Commanders Wire continues a countdown to the Commanders season opener for 2023 in 50 days. Who was Washington’s best player wearing number 50?

While there were no Hall of Fame or even Pro Bowlers who wore No. 50 in Washington NFL football history, there were certainly men who had fine careers and deserve honor in being mentioned.

Fred Hageman (1961-64) came to Washington first playing in 1961, after being drafted by the NY Giants in the 1960 draft 96th overall. Hageman had played his college ball at Arkansas and Kansas, and in his first NFL season, he was a middle linebacker, starting all 13 games he was able to play. In his next three seasons for the Burgundy and Gold, Hageman transitioned to the other side of the ball, starting at center. In 1962 and 1963, Hageman started all 14 games for Washington. Hageman was able to only start three games in 1964, his last NFL season.

Pete Wysocki (1975-80) came to Washington as an undrafted linebacker out of Western Michigan. During his first four seasons, despite not starting a game at linebacker, Wysocki quickly made his impression on special teams playing with an enthusiastic intensity. In his last two NFL seasons, Wysocki started 9 games (1979) and 8 games (1980).

Derek Smith (1997-2000) was drafted out of Arizona State 80th overall by Washington GM Charley Casserly. Becoming an immediate starter, Smith started 16, 15, 16 and 14 games in his four seasons in Washington’s defense. In his first two seasons, Smith was the right linebacker, and in his last two, he was the middle linebacker in a 4-3 defensive scheme. In his four Washington seasons, Smith was credited with 376 tackles (277 solo, 99 assisted). Smith was a fine player but departed for unrestricted free agency, playing nine more NFL seasons.


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