Ranking the top 10 Kansas City Chiefs linebackers of all time

Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell (Photo by James Flores/Getty Images) /
8 of 11
Kansas City Chiefs, E.J. Holub
BUFFALO, NY – JANUARY 1, 1967: (L to R) Linebacker E.J. Holub #55, defensive lineman Jerry Mays #75 and center Wayne Frazier #66 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate the final moments of the AFL Championship Game on January 1, 1967 against the Buffalo Bills at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York. JV00297 (Photo by: John Vawter Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

4. E.J. Hollub

"“I had never seen anybody like him, he was a phenom. I liked to put him on the seven-man blocking sled, just him, and with me standing on it, he could knock that thing about three yards.” – Grant Teaf, Former Coach"

Emil Joseph Holub, or E.J. as he became known, was a standout two-way player in college for Texas Tech and professionally for the Dallas Texans who eventually became the Kansas City Chiefs. A Texas Tech legend, known as “The Beast” during his playing career for his strength and toughness, Holub was the first football player to have his jersey number retired by the Red Raiders.

In college Holub was a defensive juggernaut. In one game his senior season he had a total of 19 tackles, 15 of those unassisted. In another he had 23 tackles and one interception returned for a touchdown. Believe it or not, he was even better on the offensive side of the ball. He was the Red Raiders first two-time consensus All American at center, a position he would continue to play professionally.

Holub’s ability made him a coveted player coming out of college. He was drafted in both the 1961 AFL Draft and the 1961 NFL Draft, in the first round by the Dallas Texans and in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys respectively. As fate would have it, he signed with the upstart AFL and the Dallas Texans and became the spirit of the franchise.

He maintained his two-way capacity in the NFL, a rarity for the era, making him one of the last of the fabled “60-minute men.” He was named to the equivalent of the Pro Bowl his first three seasons, five total for his career, and was named the equivalent of First Team and Second Team All Pro two times each.

A three-time AFL Champion, two-time Super Bowl contestant and one-time Super Bowl Champion, Holub is the first and still the only player to start two Super Bowls at two positions. Unfortunately, the brutality of Holub’s two-way burden resulted in 13 surgeries during his career, a transition from his best professional position, and eventually his retirement.  That said, his brilliance lasted long enough to grant him a place amongst the greatest linebackers in team history.