The New York Giants already had the players many considered to be the best linebacker in the sport at the time in Lawrence Taylor on their defense heading into 1984. But what if they could have added perhaps one of the best pass rushers to play alongside Taylor in Reggie White?
It nearly happened in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft as the Giants had the No. three pick and could have taken White who was there, but instead, took offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman. The Philadelphia Eagles had the next pick, took White and the rest was history.
In a special on NFL Network called "Caught in the Draft," the Hall of Fame head coach talked about how he tried to get the Giants to take White in the draft that year, but was outvoted and instead, the Giants chose Zimmerman.
“Gary Zimmerman was there,” Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, who led the Giants from 1983-1990, said in the feature. “I know I had a particular interest in Reggie White, too. I tried to put my two cents in, but we wound up taking Zimmerman.”
Zimmerman, who ended up having a Hall of Fame career in the league, actually never played a single down for the Giants, as his rights were eventually traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1986 for two draft picks while White went on to become of the best defensive ends in the sport for the Eagles. Parcells reflected on what could have been if White and Taylor had gotten a chance to play together in the prime of their careers.
“It would have been something special," Parcells added.
From 1985 until 1992, White had 124 sacks in 121 games played and had double-digit sacks in each of his eight years. After playing in Philadelphia, White joined the Green Bay Packers in 1993 and helped them win Super Bowl XXXI against Parcells' New England Patriots. White finished his career by playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2000 and retired with 198 total sacks, which is the second most all-time in the NFL.
White was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 2006, an accomplishment he was not around for because he tragically passed away from cardiac arrhythmia on the night after Christmas in 2004 at the age of 43.
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