Gary Johnson #79 of the San Diego Chargers walks off the field following the game against the Denver Broncos at Jack Murphy Stadium on November 29, 1981 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 34-17.
Within a five-week period this summer, the Chargers family lost both the greatest coach and arguably greatest defensive tackle of its 50-year history.
On July 1, Don Coryell passed away at age 85. On Aug. 4, Gary “Big Hands” Johnson died from a stroke at age 57.
Coryell, whose “Air Coryell” passing attack provided a blueprint for today's offenses, coached the Chargers from 1978-1986. Over that period, Dan Fouts quarterbacked an offense that ranked as the NFL's best through the air for seven years, including an NFL-record streak of six straight seasons from 1978-1983.
Johnson, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection, played for the Chargers from 1975-1984. His banner year came in 1980 when he recorded 17.5 sacks, which was then not yet an official statistic. Thirty years later, the mark hasn't been matched by a Charger since.
In light of the impact Coryell and Johnson had, we'll take a look at some of the others who have contributed to the organization's lore by counting down the 10 greatest Chargers players of all-time.