Hall of Fame weekend has come and gone. Brett Favre, a gunslinger seemingly determined to postpone eligibility until time itself collapsed, is officially a Hall of Famer. He joins the illustrious company of other prolific quarterbacks, but stands alone as the only one of his kind.
Favre remains first or second in every significant passing category. He started 89 more games than any other quarterback in NFL history. He also holds the record for consecutive starts amongst all players. His career touchdown total (508) and passing yards (71,838) rank second. He still holds the record for completions (6,300), times sacked (525) and – go figure – completions to the other team (336).
The dichotomy surrounding Favre approaches mythic territory. A position defined by precision and preparation, Brett Favre performed at his best when putting on an improv clinic. He coupled interceptions that should assure a one-way ticket to the pine with throws that might break a video game.
He didn’t do it alone. Over the course of his 20-year career, Favre threw to numerous Pro Bowlers, role players and unproven receivers. Between the Sterling Sharpes and Donald Drivers, Brett occasionally had to make magic with lesser talents.
This rankings include former household names and career drifters alike. The selections are weighted by expectations and mismanaged potential. In honor of Brett Favre’s induction, here’s a list of the 15 worst receivers Brett Favre has ever thrown to (parentheses indicates years playing with Favre):
15. Don Beebe (1996-1997)
It’s difficult to place a man with six Super Bowl appearances on a list of worsts, but Don Beebe joined Green Bay on the tail end of a magical career. With his best football behind him, his main role involved mentoring a promising core of wide receivers such as Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks and Derrick Mayes. He managed 39 receptions, 699 yards and four touchdowns during the team’s Super Bowl run in 1996. During his final year in the NFL and with the Packers, he posted career lows in games played (10), receptions (2) and touchdowns (0). He only managed 28 receiving yards that year and 0 yards during the playoffs, before riding off into the sunset when the Packers lost to the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
14. Desmond Howard (1996, 1999)
Although the Packer faithful will always remember Desmond Howard for his MVP performance and game-changing kickoff return in Super Bowl XXXI, his production as a receiver never lived up to his Heisman Trophy hype. After scoring 19 receiving touchdowns in his last season at Michigan, Howard finished his entire NFL career with less than half that number – none of which came on a connection with Favre. He tallied 13 catches in the 1996 season. After a two-year stint with the Oakland Raiders, Desmond returned to the Packers in 1999. The organization cut ties with Howard halfway through the season due to injury and performance. He only managed eight games that season with Green Bay, only having the ball thrown his way once, which he didn’t manage to haul in.
13. Kitrick Taylor (1992)
Kitrick Taylor, much like the next two receivers, deserves a spot on the list due to his unlikely participation in a historic Favre milestone. Kitrick Taylor caught one touchdown pass in his six-year, journeyman career. When Favre came in for an injured Don Majkowski during a week three game against the Bengals, total chaos ensued. The future legend somehow managed to eke out a victory on a 42-yard pass to Taylor with 13 seconds remaining. It was the first game-winning pass of Favre’s career and one of only two receptions Kitrick enjoyed with the Packers.
12. Sanjay Beach (1992)
Sanjay Beach had the privilege of running routes for three Hall of Fame quarterbacks during his NFL career: Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre. The remarkable talent feeding him the ball resulted in career totals of 26 catches for 224 yards and two touchdowns. However, he holds a special place in Packers lore. Aside from the pass Favre bounced off a lineman’s helmet and completed to himself, Beach recorded Favre’s first official completion. Despite that, Green Bay did not resign Sanjay at season’s end, as he finished the year with only 122 yards and a single touchdown, even though he played 16 games and started 11 of them. He finished his career in 1993 after logging five receptions and one touchdown with the 49ers.
11. Carlyle Holiday (2006-2008)
Carlyle Holiday made a position switch to wide receiver/returner after three seasons as a dual threat quarterback at Notre Dame. Despite hauling in only three catches his senior year, the Arizona Cardinals signed Holiday as an undrafted free agent in 2005. The Packers picked him up at the tail end of the 2006 season. He was with the team for 12 days before catching a slant to help Brett Favre set the NFL’s all time completion record. It would turn out to be one of Holiday’s nine career receptions, which he turned into a measly 126 yards. The play is likely Holiday’s fondest memory of his short playing career. He was out of the league by 2008.
10. David Clowney (2008)
The Packers drafted David Clowney in the 2007 NFL Draft in the fifth round, 157th overall. He never played a down for them. The New York Jets signed him as a free agent. One year later, Brett Favre landed with the same team after his first unsuccessful foray into retirement. Clowney caught one pass during the gunslinger’s lone season in New York for a grand total of 26 yards. His only career touchdown occurred after Favre moved onto the Vikings. Clowney retired from the NFL with four years under his belt. He finished with 22 career receptions for a total of 341 yards, while playing for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.
9. Bubba Franks (2000-2008)
Bubba Franks’ inclusion on this list marks the beginning of players performing under the weight of expectations. Every team experiments with late round skill players and undrafted free agents, but the Packers drafted Franks with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2000 Draft. He repaid the front office with three Pro Bowl selections. However, he caught three or less touchdowns in over half of his seasons and logged more than 36 catches only once. His numbers were serviceable (2,300 yards and 32 touchdowns in Green Bay), but Franks failed to make his mark in a generation of increasingly versatile tight ends. After his 2007 release, he followed Brett Favre to the Jets and enjoyed a quiet end to his career, only managing six catches and 47 yards in his final year in the league.
8. Derrick Mayes (1996-1998)
Derrick Mayes graduated from Notre Dame with school records in career touchdown receptions and receiving yards. A second round pick in the 1996 Draft, Mayes’ college accolades never fully translated to the NFL. His highest touchdown mark with Favre at the helm came in 1998. He caught three touchdowns – all in a week four game against the Panthers. He missed six of the final twelve games and did not pull in another score. Mayes reunited with Mike Holmgren in Seattle during the 1999 season. He caught ten touchdowns in his first year with Seattle, including one against his former team on Monday Night Football. He faked a Lambeau leap and chose to taunt the crowd instead. The career revival did not last. He caught one touchdown in 2000 and his reception total was cut in half in what ended up being his final year in the NFL.
7. Robert Ferguson (2001-2006)
Injuries marred the career and potential of second round pick Robert Ferguson. He played 16 games for Green Bay only once, in 2002, where he 293 yards and three touchdown catches. His total games played decreased every year until the Packers cut him before the 2007 season. Mike McCarthy chose to move in a different direction with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones. In six years in green and yellow, Ferguson managed 116 receptions for 1,577 yards and 12 touchdowns.
From there, Ferguson joined the division rival Minnesota Vikings. His career sputtered to an end with three receptions for 25 yards in the 2008 season. An amusing footnote in Ferguson’s NFL experience is that he also finished his career with -8 rushing yards.
6. David Martin (2001-2006)
David Martin’s expectations do not stem from his draft position, as he was drafted 198th overall, but rather due to his background. He played wide receiver for four years at Tennessee. Green Bay selected him in the sixth round and converted him to tight end. His experience in route running and opening the field never came to fruition. Martin languished behind Bubba Franks on the depth chart for six seasons, catching 87 passes for 766 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Franks lost his grip on the starting job in 2007, but Martin had already been released by the Packers and signed with the Miami Dolphins. He finished his ten-year backup tight end career with 1,562 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
5. Percy Harvin (2009-2010)
The final five players on the list represent wasted potential, lost seasons and deceiving numbers. Percy Harvin exploded out of the gate as a Vikings rookie, tallying six receiving touchdowns and two kick return touchdowns. His electrifying on-field abilities were second only to his cancerous habits in the locker room. Percy battled migraines to remain productive in his first season after Favre’s retirement, but soon wore out his welcome in Minnesota. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. Despite a game clinching kick return in Super Bow XLVIII, he did not last with Seattle either. They performed a mid-season trade with the Jets in 2014. A perennial star is not traded two times in three years without a massive attitude problem. After finishing last season on the IR, Harvin has decided to retire from the NFL.
4. Javon Walker (2002-2005)
Another immense talent, Javon Walker outplayed his rookie contract in 2003 and 2004, finishing with nine touchdowns and 12 touchdowns respectively. He played a huge role in Favre’s legendary Monday Night performance following the death of the quarterback’s father. Prior to the 2005 training camp, Walker, represented by the notorious Drew Rosenhaus, threatened to hold out or retire if he did not receive a new contract. The Packers held their ground. Brett Favre even publicly threw Walker under the bus. Javon reluctantly reported. He tore his ACL in the first game of the season. The Packers traded the disgruntled receiver to the Broncos in 2006. Although he posted respectable numbers in his first season away from Lambeau, Walker soon learned the grass is not always greener. He had a terrible final year in Denver, before signing a massive contract with the Oakland Raiders. He’d only play 11 games in two seasons for the Raiders, managing 196 yards and a single touchdown. He was released and never made it back to the NFL.
3. Sidney Rice (2009-2010)
Brett Favre began his career throwing darts to one South Carolina alumnus (Sterling Sharpe) and ended his career making highlights with another – Sidney Rice. Great players make those around them better. There has rarely been stronger proof than Favre’s 2009 season with Rice. In Rice’s breakout campaign, he totaled his only 1,000 yard season, scored a career high in touchdowns with eight and caught 33 more passes than his second highest total. Injuries arguably led to Sidney’s decline, as he only managed to play a full season twice during his NFL career, and he put together a solid 2012 with the Seattle Seahawks, but his lone Pro Bowl nomination is a direct product of playing with a generational talent.
2. Koren Robinson (2006-2007)
Koren Robinson never lacked skill. The top ten pick in the 2001 Draft for the Seattle Seahawks struggled with substance abuse and boneheaded decisions. He’d have one terrific season in Seattle in 2002, when he had 78 receptions for 1,240 yards and five touchdowns.
Ted Thompson, who drafted Robinson for the Seahawks, looked past the receiver’s recent involvement in a high-speed chase when he brought him to Green Bay for the 2006 season. Koren played four games before receiving a yearlong suspension due to the incident. Reinstated in October 2007, Koren competed in the Packers’ final nine games. The team cut ties in 2008. Koren Robinson’s off field failures led to a forgettable tenure in Green Bay. He played 13 games, caught 28 passes and scored one touchdown over two incomplete seasons.
1. Terry Glenn (2002)
For all intents and purposes, Terry Glenn put together a fine NFL career. A 1995 Consensus All-American and Fred Biletnikoff winner, Glenn joined the Patriots as the seventh pick in the 1996 NFL draft. Glenn set a rookie record for receptions. The number proved to be the highest mark of his career. Following a string of suspensions and disputes, the Patriots traded Glenn to the Packers for two fourth round picks. The Packers hoped Glenn would serve as a deep threat for Favre. He averaged 14.6 yards per catch, but put together an unremarkable season due to the emergence of Donald Driver. The front office deemed him expendable the following year and shipped Glenn to the Cowboys. Green Bay has believed in building through the draft for the past several decades. Glenn deserves the number one spot due to the price it took to secure him, underwhelming production and quick dismissal of the experiment after a year.
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