The NFL is revealing the 100 greatest players and 10 greatest coaches in NFL history. Every Friday night at 8 ET through Dec. 27, NFL Network will announce the latest members of the All-Time Team during a one-hour special hosted by Rich Eisen and featuring Bill Belichick and Cris Collinsworth.
Below are the 12 tight end finalists for the All-Time Team. The five players on the All-Time Team will be revealed this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network:
Tight end finalists
Dave Casper (1974-1984)
2002 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Raiders in 2nd round (45th overall pick) of 1974 draft… Consensus All-American and won national title at Notre Dame, 1973… Led NFL tight ends in receptions (345), yards (4,839), TD (46) over 7-season span, 1976-1982… Had 7 receiving TD in playoff career (T-2nd among TE), including NFL-record by TE in single postseason (5, 1977)… Won Super Bowl XI with Raiders… Made 5 straight Pro Bowls, 1976-1980 seasons… 1st-team All-Pro in 4 consecutive years, 1976-1979… Named to NFL All-Decade Team of 1970s… Born February 2, 1952, in Bemidji, Minnesota
Mike Ditka (1961-1972)
1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Bears in 1st round (5th overall pick) of 1961 draft… 1st TE elected to Hall of Fame… NFL Offensive Rookie of Year after becoming 1st TE with 1,000+ rec yards (1,076) in a season, 1961… Led TE in receptions in each of 1st 4 NFL seasons, 1961-1964… At retirement ranked 1st among TE in receptions (427), 2nd in rec yards (5,812) and rec TD (43) in NFL history… Won NFL title as player, asst coach and head coach… 5 straight Pro Bowls, 1961-1965 seasons… 2-time 1st-team All-Pro… Member of NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team… Born October 18, 1939, in Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
Antonio Gates (2003-2018)
Signed as undrafted in 2003… Never played college football, instead starred on Kent State basketball team (led to Elite Eight in 2002 NCAA Tournament)… NFL TE record 116 career receiving TD, which ranks 7th among all players in NFL history… Ranks 3rd all-time among TE in receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841)… Chargers‘ all-time leading receiver… Led NFL TE in receptions once, receiving yards 3 times, receiving TD 5 times… Made 8 straight Pro Bowls, 2004-2011 seasons… 1st-team All-Pro 3 times… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 2000s… Born June 18, 1980, in Detroit, Michigan.
Tony Gonzalez (1997-2013)
2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Chiefs in 1st round (13th overall pick) in 1997 draft… Also played basketball in college at Cal… Holds all-time TE records with 1,325 receptions (3rd among all players), 15,127 rec yards (6th)… Ranks 2nd among TE all-time with 111 rec TD… Led NFL with 102 receptions, 2004… 4-time 1,000-yard receiver, tied for most among TE in NFL history… Played in 270 of possible 272 possible games in career… Named to 14 Pro Bowls, NFL record for TE (T-1st in NFL history among all players)… 6-time 1st-team All-Pro, NFL record for TE… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 2000s… Born February 27, 1976, in Torrance, California.
Rob Gronkowski (2010-2018)
Selected by Patriots in 2nd round (42nd overall pick) of 2010 draft… Ranks 3rd among TE with 79 career receiving TD, which leads all NFL players since 2010… Leads NFL TE with 12 career receiving TD in playoffs, 2nd only to HOF Jerry Rice among all players… Set NFL single-season record for TE with 17 receiving TD, 2011… 4-time 1,000-yard receiver, tied for most among TE in NFL history… Owns NFL record 5 seasons with 10+ receiving TD by TE… 3-time Super Bowl champion with Patriots… Earned 5 Pro Bowl selections… 4-time 1st-team All-Pro… Born May 14, 1989, in Amherst, New York.
Ron Kramer (1957; 1959-1967)
Selected by Packers in 1st round (4th overall pick) of 1957 draft… 3-sports star at Michigan (football, basketball, track)… Missed entire 1958 season due to U.S. Air Force service… Considered pivotal blocker in famed “Packer Sweep”… Ranked 3rd among NFL TE in both receptions (193) and receiving yards (2,840) over 6-season span, 1961-1966… Won 2 NFL championships with Packers, 1961-1962… Earned Pro Bowl selection and 1st-team All-Pro, 1962 season… Born June 24, 1935, in Gerard, Kansas.
John Mackey (1963-1972)
1992 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Colts in 2nd round (19th overall pick) in 1963 draft… 2nd TE elected to Hall of Fame… Helped revolutionize TE position as offensive weapon in addition to being great blocker… Long-distance threat who scored 6 TDs of 50+ yards, 1966… Averaged 20+ yards per reception twice, 1963, 1965… Caught deflected pass for 75-yard TD in Super Bowl V victory with Colts… Was 1st NFLPA President, 1970-1973… Made Pro Bowl in 5 of first 6 seasons… 3-time 1st-team All-Pro, 1966-1968… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 1960s… Born September 24, 1941, in New York, New York.
Ozzie Newsome (1978-1990)
1999 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Browns in 1st round (23rd overall pick) in 1978… Nicknamed “Wizard of Oz”… Became instant team leader with Browns… Led all NFL TE in career receptions (662) and receiving yards (7,980) at time of retirement… Browns all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards… 2-time 1,000-yard receiver, 1981, 1984… Caught pass in 152 consecutive games between 1979-1989 seasons… Won Super Bowl XLVII as Ravens GM, 2012 season… Made 3 career Pro Bowls… 1st-team All-Pro selection, 1984… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 1980s… Born March 16, 1956, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Charlie Sanders (1968-1977)
2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Lions in 3rd round (74th overall pick) in 1968 draft… Combined great leaping ability, big hands, strength, speed and elusiveness… Led all NFL TE with 4,817 receiving yards, ranked T-1st with 336 receptions during career span… Lions‘ all-time receptions leader (336) at time of retirement… Team’s leader or co-leader in receptions 6 times in 10 career seasons… Made 7 career Pro Bowl teams (5th-most all-time among TE)… Earned 3 straight All-Pro selections, 1969-1971… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 1970s… Born August 25, 1946 in Richlands, North Carolina.
Shannon Sharpe (1990-2003)
2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Broncos in 7th round of 1990 draft… Led all NFL TE 815 career receptions, 10,060 rec yards and 62 rec TDs at time of retirement (currently 4th in receptions and yards)… 3-time 1,000-yard receiver (T-4th most among TE)… Key part of 3 Super Bowl-winning teams (Broncos, 1997-1998; Ravens, 2000)… Owns 62 career receptions in playoffs (T-3rd all-time among TE)… Made 8 career Pro Bowls (T-3td all-time among TE)… 4-time 1st-team All-Pro selection (T-2nd among TE)… Named to NFL All-Decade Team for 1990s… Born June 26, 1968, in Chicago, Illinois.
Kellen Winslow (1979-1987)
1995 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Chargers in 1st round (13th overall pick) in 1979 draft… Became premier TE of his era… Led all NFL TE with 541 receptions, 6,741 rec yards and 45 rec TDs during career span… 3-time 1,000-yard receiver (T-4th most among TE)… Led NFL in receptions twice, 1980-1981… Had 13 receptions, blocked field goal in epic 1981 AFC playoff win in OT vs Dolphins… 5 career Pro Bowls, including 4 straight, 1980-1983 seasons… 3-time 1st-team All-Pro (T-5th all-time among TE)… Member of 75th Anniversary All-Time Team… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1980s… Born November 5, 1957, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Jason Witten (2003-2017; 2019)
Selected by Cowboys in 3rd round (69th overall pick) of 2003 draft… Ranks 2nd among TE in NFL history in receptions and receiving yards… 4-time 1,000-yard receiver, tied for NFL record among TE… Caught 90 passes in season 4 times, 2nd-most by TE in NFL history… Posted career-high 110 receptions in 2012, which set NFL single-season record by TE (since broken)… Owns NFL single-game record for TE with 18 receptions, Week 8, 2012… Cowboys all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards… Made 11 Pro Bowls, 2nd-most by TE in NFL history… 2-time 1st-team All-Pro… Born May 6, 1982, in Elizabethton, Tennessee.