Buffalo Bills – Punter Brian Moorman and defensive end Chris Kelsay are gone, so placekicker Rian Lindell — who is entering his 11th year of the service with the team — is now the longest-tenured Bill. Defensive back Terrence McGee had also been with the team since 2003, but he was released in the offseason. George Wilson is now in Tennessee, which means Kyle Williams (2006) is the most senior non-kicker.
New York Jets – Bryan Thomas, Brandon Moore, and Sione Pouha were casualties of John Idzik’s offseason house cleaning. That leaves two 2006 first round picks — D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold — as the longest tenured players.
Cleveland Browns – Phil Dawson was an original new Brown, but is now in San Francisco. Therefore, D’Qwell Jackson (2006) replaces Josh Cribbs, who signed with the Raiders in May, as the longest-tenured Brown.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Plaxico Burress was on the team in 2000, but obviously his stints in New York remove him from consideration. That old Steelers defense lost some familiar names (Casey Hampton is a free agent, James Harrison is in Cincinnati) in the offseason, but a few graybeards remain. Brett Keisel has been with the team since 2002, while Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor arrived in Pittsburgh a year later. Larry Foote was drafted in ’02 and remains on the team, but he doesn’t count since he spent the 2009 season in Detroit.
Houston Texans – Andre Johnson, the team’s second ever first round pick, is entering his 11th season in Houston.
Indianapolis Colts – But Johnson isn’t even the longest-tenured University of Miami wide receiver in the AFC South. Reggie Wayne has been with the Colts since 2001. With Dwight Freeney in San Diego, Robert Mathis (class of ’03) is now the old man on defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Believe it or not, center Brad Meester has been with the team since 2000. As a rookie, he played left guard next to Tony Boselli. With Rashean Mathis a free agent, the next longest-tenured players are placekicker Josh Scobee (2004) and 2006 classmates Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis.
Tennessee Titans – center Eugene Amano (7th round, 2004) is a free agent, so that leaves placekicker Rob Bironas and left tackle Michael Roos — each joined Tennessee in 2005 — as the most senior Titans.
Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning gets no special treatment on this list. Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams each joined the team in ’04, but with Williams now in Chicago, Bailey alone is the longest-tenured Bronco.
Kansas City Chiefs – a pair of the many Pro Bowlers on the team — punter Dustin Colquitt and linebacker Derrick Johnson — are entering their ninth seasons in Kansas City. Another Pro Bowl linebacker, Tamba Hali, is only one year behind.
Oakland Raiders – Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler were drafted together in 2000, but the punter is now in Houston. Other long-time Raiders moving on this offseason include Tommy Kelly (New England) and Michael Huff (Baltimore), the two longest-tenured non-kickers for the 2012 Raiders. Offensive lineman Cooper Carlisle and long snapper Jon Condo joined the Raiders in ’07, but Carlisle is currently a free agent. That means the non-special teams players wearing Silver and Black the longest are…. class of ’08 members Tyvon Branch and Darren McFadden. McFadden is only 25 years old and Branch is just 26, but they’re the senior men on campus when it comes to the Raiders offense and defense.
San Diego Chargers – Quentin Jammer went to Denver after 11 seasons in San Diego, making TE Antonio Gates and P Mike Scifres, each entering their 11th seasons, as the longest-tenured Chargers. San Diego still has Malcom Floyd, Nick Hardwick, and Philip Rivers from their outstanding 2004 Draft (conversely, Shaun Phillips is now a Bronco while Nate Kaeding recently retired).
NFC EastDallas Cowboys – Jason Witten and Tony Romo each joined the team in 2003. Witten has had a Hall of Fame career, while Romo has been a very good quarterback and is always recognized as such.
New York Giants – David Diehl took a big paycut to stay with the team, which just proves that sentimentality doesn’t go very far in the NFL. Diehl and Osi Umenyiora were drafted in 2003, but with Umenyiora now in Atlanta, Diehl is the resident graybeard. Eli Manning and Chris Snee joined New York the next season.
Philadelphia Eagles – In the 2005 Draft, the Eagles selected offensive lineman Todd Herremans in the fourth round and defensive end Trent Cole in the fifth. Those two are the longest-tenured Eagles: they had been joined by the team’s first round pick that year, Mike Patterson, but the defensive tackle signed with the Giants in the offseason.
Washington Redskins – Chris Cooley was drafted by Washington in ’04, but he is currently a free agent. That makes wide receiver Santana Moss, who the Redskins acquired via trade with the Jets for Laveranues Coles in 2005, the most senior member of the team.
Chicago Bears – Patrick Mannelly for the win! Now that Brian Urlacher has retired, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman — each drafted in 2003 — are the longest-tenured starters. Chicago had two first round picks that year, but drafted Briggs and Tillman in the second and third rounds after securing Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman.
Detroit Lions – Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola have been mainstays on the offensive line since being the team’s first two draft picks in 2001. With Backus joining Jason Hanson in retirement, Raiola is the Detroit graybeard.Green Bay Packers – Donald Driver is now retired, which brought us to the point of this post. It blows my mind that Aaron Rodgers, selected in the first round in 2005, is the old Packer in the locker room. Green Bay has a history of quarterbacks sticking around for awhile, although I’m sure Packers fans hope Rodgers is the longest-tenured Packer five years from now, too. One year behind Rodgers in seniority are Jarrett Bush, A.J. Hawk, and Ryan Pickett; two other players who joined Green Bay in ’06, Greg Jennings (Minnesota) and Charles Woodson (Oakland) switched teams this offseason.
Minnesota Vikings – Kevin Williams, once the young man on the Vikings defensive line, is now the longest-tenured player in Minnesota. Williams was a first round pick in ’03, while long-snapper Cullen Loeffler joined a year later. Adrian Peterson, entering his seventh season with the Vikings, is the most senior member of the Minnesota offense. And occasionally the only.
Atlanta Falcons – Center Todd McClure was a 7th round pick in 1999, and no Falcon comes close to matching that longevity. But since McClure retired this off-season, the reins have been handed down to the team’s first two drafts picks in 2005: Roddy White and Jonathan Babineaux.
New Orleans Saints – Can a team’s first two draft picks stick around for nine years and still be disappointing? Exhibit A: The Saints first two draft picks in 2004, Will Smith and Devery Henderson. The Redskins signed Henderson in the offseason, leaving Smith as the longest-tenured Saint. After him, a large chunk of the ’06 haul — Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, Roman Harper, Lance Moore, and Zach Strief — remain on the team (Scott Shanle, also an ’06 addition, is currently a free agent).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – after 16 years, Ronde Barber hung up his cleats. Guard Davin Joseph and long snapper Andrew Economos, who each joined in ’06, are now the longest-tenured Bucs (another offensive lineman, Jeremy Trueblood, was on the team from ’06 to 2012 before signing with Washington this offseason). On defense, linebacker Adam Hayward (’07) is the only defensive player that was on the team before 2010.
NFC WestBrian Jennings (joined the team in 2000) played in San Francisco with Jerry Rice. The runner up award goes to punter Andy Lee (2004), while the longest-tenured non-special teams player is running back Frank Gore (2005), now that Isaac Sopoaga (2004) and Alex Smith (2005) are in Philadelphia and Kansas City, respectively.
Seattle Seahawks – Marcus Trufant played for a decade in Seattle, but is now a Jaguar. LeRoy Hill was drafted in ’05, but is currently a free agent. Wide receiver Ben Obomanu, a draft choice in ’06, is a Jet. That leaves defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a third round pick in ’07, as the most senior Seahawk. Red Bryant and punter Jon Ryan are the only other players who have been in Seattle since 2008, as Pete Caroll has turned the Seahawks into one of the league’s youngest teams.
St. Louis Rams – when you’re a bad team, you tend to experience a lot of roster turnover. With Steven Jackson in Atlanta, defensive end Chris Long, a first round pick in ’08, is the longest-tenured Ram. Believe it or not, Long and James Laurinaitis are the only players who have been in St. Louis longer than Sam Bradford. Rodger Saffold is the only other offensive player who was on the team in 2010, when Bradford won Rookie of the Year.