In the NFL, as in many other sports, there will be players who are devoted to a single franchise throughout their careers. Some players, such as Tom Brady, will stay with a team for a long time before moving on to pastures new. Only two NFL players have played for a single team for more than 20 seasons. Those two players both remained with their teams throughout their NFL careers.
Two NFL players spent nearly 20 seasons with the same franchise.
A few players have come close to playing for the same side for more than 20 seasons. Of course, Tom Brady is the most well-known of them all. The GOAT began his NFL career with the New England Patriots, where he spent 18 seasons. Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and still represents them now, rather than concluding his career where it all began.
According to Pro Football Reference, two other sportsmen came close to playing more than 20 seasons with a single franchise. In 1983, Darrell Green became a member of the Washington Commanders, then known as the Redskins. Before retiring in 2002, the outstanding cornerback spent 20 seasons with the organization. He was never a part of another NFL franchise.
Jackie Slater is another close call. The offensive tackle joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1976 and remained with the team until it relocated to St. Louis in 1995. Slater, like Green, spent 20 seasons with his first team.
Both Lou Groza and Jason Hanson spent 21 seasons in the NFL with their respective teams.
Jason Hanson of the Detroit Lions in 2008 | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Currently, there are only two NFL players who’ve played more than 20 seasons with the same NFL franchise: Lou Groza and Jason Hanson. Groza began his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 1946, before the AFL-NFL merger. He stayed with the Browns until 1967, when he retired after 21 seasons with the team.
Groza played center and right tackle in his early seasons, but he eventually settled into a role of playing both left tackle and placekicker. He was great at what he did, helping his team compete in 13 championship games over his lengthy football career with the Browns. Thanks to his skills and long career, he’s also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hanson, meanwhile, joined the Detroit Lions in 1992 and stuck with them for 21 seasons before retiring. The placekicker was great at his position, holding several records to this day. For example, in 1992, Hanson was named the Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Weekly. He is now the only placekicker to achieve this honor.
After retiring from the NFL, Lou Groza and Jason Hanson did the following.
When Groza retired in 1967, he stuck around in Cleveland where he maintained close ties with the Browns. He and his family had an insurance business. In late 2000, Groza died from a heart attack at the age of 76. In addition to being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Groza’s legacy lives with an award named after him.
Hanson, meanwhile, is still kicking. But, according to the Detroit Lions, he’s not kicking footballs. He and his family continue to live in the Detroit area where he gives speeches and coaching lessons. Hanson speaks at his church as well as at corporate events.
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