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List of Famous Football Tight Ends

Updated June 14, 2019 20.3k views992 items

List of the most famous (American) football tight ends in the history of the sport, listed by popularity with photos of the players when available. There have been many legendary tight ends in the NFL and NCAA, and you'll find all of them on this list below. Some of these men are considered to be the best tight ends to ever play the game, and if you're looking for a specific football player you can look for them by using the "search" function on this list. These amazing tight ends may currently be active while others have been retired for quite sometime. This list of the top tight ends in American football includes all the greats from both the NFL and college football.

Use every item on this list for yours, from Tony Gonzalez to Rob Gronkowski.

This list answers the questions, "Who is the greatest tight end of all time?" and "Who are the best tight ends of all time?"
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  • Tony Gonzalez1

    Tony Gonzalez

    Tight end

    BirthplaceTorrance, California, United States of America

    Age39

    TeamsCalifornia Golden Bears football, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

    Anthony David Gonzalez (born February 27, 1976) is a former American football tight end. He...  more

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    #4 of 28 The Best NFL Players With The Most Pro Bowl Appearances#3 of 176 The Best Atlanta Falcons of All Time

  • Rob Gronkowski2

    BirthplaceAmherst, New York

    Age26

    TeamsTampa Bay Buccaneers

    Robert James Gronkowski (born May 14, 1989), nicknamed "Gronk" is an American football tight...  more

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    #1330 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#129 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Jimmy Graham3

    Jimmy Graham

    Tight end

    BirthplaceGoldsboro, North Carolina

    Age29

    TeamsGreen Bay Packers

    Jimmy Graham (born November 24, 1986) is an American football tight end for the Green Bay...  more
  • Antonio Gates4

    Antonio Gates

    Tight end

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    Age35

    TeamsSan Diego Chargers

    Antonio Ethan Gates Jr. (born June 18, 1980) is an American football tight end who is...  more

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    #48 of 77 The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs#86 of 106 The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

  • Jason Witten5

    Jason Witten

    Tight end

    BirthplaceElizabethton, Tennessee, USA

    Age38

    TeamsDallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders

    Christopher Jason Witten (born May 6, 1982) is a retired American football tight end. He...  more

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    #133 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#4 of 48 The Best University of Tennessee Football Players Ever

  • Vernon Davis6

    Vernon Davis

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Age31

    TeamsWashington Redskins

    Vernon Davis (born January 31, 1984) is an American football tight end for the Washington...  more
  • Mike Ditka7

    Mike Ditka

    Tight end

    BirthplaceCarnegie, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age80

    TeamsChicago Bears, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

    Michael Keller Ditka (born October 18, 1939) is an American former football player, coach, and...  more

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    #28 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#295 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Shannon Sharpe8

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Age47

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Savannah State Tigers football

    Shannon Sharpe (born June 26, 1968) is a former American football tight end who played for the...  more

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    #93 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#12 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time

  • John Mackey9

    John Mackey

    Tight end

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    AgeDied at 70 (1941-2011)

    TeamsBaltimore Colts, Syracuse Orange football, San Diego Chargers

    John Mackey (September 24, 1941 – July 6, 2011) was an American football tight end who played...  more

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    #16 of 147 The Best Indianapolis Colts of All Time#14 of 60 The Best NFL Players From New York

  • Dave Casper10

    Dave Casper

    Tight end, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceBemidji, Minnesota

    Age64

    David John Casper (born February 2, 1952) nicknamed "the Ghost", is an American former...  more

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    #14 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time#1 of 26 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '70s

  • Jackie Smith11

    Jackie Smith

    Tight end

    BirthplaceColumbia, Mississippi

    Age80

    TeamsSt. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

    Jackie Larue Smith (born February 23, 1940) is a former American football tight end in the...  more
  • Owen Daniels12

    Owen Daniels

    Tight end

    BirthplaceBerwyn, Illinois

    Age37

    TeamsHouston Texans

    Owen Daniels (born November 9, 1982) is a former American football tight end. He played...  more
  • Ozzie Newsome13

    Ozzie Newsome

    Tight end

    BirthplaceMuscle Shoals, Alabama, United States of America

    Age59

    TeamsCleveland Browns

    Ozzie Newsome Jr. (born March 16, 1956) is an American former football tight end for the...  more

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    #7 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#9 of 87 The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time

  • Julius Thomas14

    Julius Thomas

    Tight end

    BirthplaceStockton, California

    Age27

    TeamsDenver Broncos

    Julius Dewayne Thomas (born June 27, 1988) is a former American football tight end. He played...  more
  • Greg Olsen15

    Greg Olsen

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWayne, New Jersey

    Age35

    TeamsCarolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks

    Gregory Walter Olsen (born March 11, 1985) is a retired American football tight end. During...  more

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    #17 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time#48 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time

  • Dallas Clark16

    Dallas Clark

    Tight end

    BirthplaceSioux Falls, South Dakota

    Age36

    TeamsIndianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Iowa Hawkeyes football

    Dallas Dean Clark (born June 12, 1979) is a former American football tight end who played 11...  more
  • Todd Christensen17

    Todd Christensen

    Fullback, Tight end

    BirthplaceBellefonte, Pennsylvania

    AgeDied at 57 (1956-2013)

    Todd Jay Christensen (August 3, 1956 – November 13, 2013) was an American football player who...  more

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    #50 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#19 of 173 The Best Oakland Raiders Of All Time

  • Mark Bavaro18

    Mark Bavaro

    Tight end

    BirthplaceWinthrop, Massachusetts

    Age52

    TeamsCleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

    Mark Bavaro (born April 28, 1963) is a former American football tight end who played for the...  more

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    #6 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s#13 of 149 The Best New York Giants of All Time

  • Martellus Bennett19

    BirthplaceAlief, Houston, Texas, United States of America

    Age28

    TeamsTexas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

    Martellus Demond Bennett (born March 10, 1987) is a former American football tight end and...  more
  • Jordan Cameron20

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Age27

    TeamsUSC Trojans football, Cleveland Browns

    Jordan Cravens Cameron (born August 7, 1988) is a former American football tight end. He...  more
  • Jermichael Finley21

    BirthplaceLufkin, Texas

    Age28

    TeamsGreen Bay Packers, Texas Longhorns football

    Jermichael Decorean Finley (born March 26, 1987) is a former American football tight end. He...  more
  • Jay Novacek22

    Jay Novacek

    Tight end

    BirthplaceMartin, South Dakota, United States of America

    Age53

    TeamsPhoenix Cardinals, Wyoming Cowboys football, Dallas Cowboys

    Jay McKinley Novacek (born October 24, 1962) is a former American football tight end in the...  more
  • Dwight Clark23

    Dwight Clark

    Tight end, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceKinston, North Carolina, United States of America

    Age63

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers, Clemson Tigers football

    Dwight Edward Clark (January 8, 1957 – June 4, 2018) was an American football wide receiver ...  more

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    #29 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#27 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s

  • Charlie Sanders24

    Charlie Sanders

    Tight end

    BirthplaceRichlands, North Carolina

    Age74

    Charles Alvin Sanders (August 25, 1946 – July 2, 2015) was an American football player who...  more

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    #8 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time#5 of 35 Undeserving Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Ben Coates25

    Ben Coates

    Tight end

    BirthplaceGreenwood, South Carolina

    Age46

    Ben Terrence Coates (born August 16, 1969) is a former American football tight end in the...  more

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    #33 of 246 The Best New England Patriots Of All Time#24 of 50 The Best NFL Players From South Carolina