Tennessee Titans: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Ray Childress, Houston Oilers
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148. . DE/DT. (1985-95). Ray Childress. 14. player

  • 5x Pro Bowl (1988, 1990-93)
  • First-Team All-Pro (1992)
  • 5x Second-Team All-Pro (1988-91, 1993)
  • 75.5 career quarterback sacks w/Oilers

Ray Childress is arguably one of the best players in Oilers/Titans history that has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While Canton enshrinement will likely continue to evade him, let’s take a look back at the stellar career of the former defensive lineman for the Oilers from the 1980s and 1990s.

Childress was taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft out of nearby Texas A&M University. The Richardson, Texas native was a two-time All-American and a standout in the old Southwest Conference for the Aggies over in College Station.

He was even in consideration to be the No. 1 overall pick in that draft; he was that good. However, former Virginia Tech Hokies star defensive lineman Bruce Smith went No. 1 to the Buffalo Bills that spring. Could you really blame Buffalo for that selection? Smith is arguably the greatest defensive lineman in NFL history.

Regardless, Childress proved to be a strong defensive end during his first five years in the league. He made his first career trip to the Pro Bowl in 1988, as well as his first of five Second-Team All-Pro designations. He set a then-career high of 8.5 quarterback sacks with the 1988 Oilers.

After another All-Pro year at defensive end for the Oilers in 1989, Childress was asked to switch to defensive tackle in 1990. This was because then-defensive coordinator Jim Eddy went from a 3-4 front to a 4-3. With an extra defensive lineman in the trenches, this proved huge for Childress’ NFL career.

He would go on to make four-straight Pro Bowls at his new position of defensive tackle from 1990 to 1993. During that four-year run, Childress never had fewer than 7.0 quarterback sacks. This includes the best mark of his career with a ridiculous 13.0 in 1992. Childress would be named First-Team All-Pro for the only time in his career that season.

Childress had another productive season with the Oilers in 1994, but managed only 6.0 sacks on a team that was starting to lose its luster before eventually moving to Tennessee in the late 1990s. He played one last season with the Oilers in 1995 before playing sparingly as a member of the 1996 Dallas Cowboys.

In 11 seasons with the Oilers, Childress totaled an impressive 75.5 career quarterback sacks in 160 career starts for the team. He finished with 884 total combined tackles, 19 forced fumbles and 19 fumble recoveries along the Houston defensive line. Overall, Childress is a candidate for the Hall of Very Good professional and nothing more. That being said, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010 for his contributions as an Aggie for Texas A&M.