The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 84 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
Eben Britton, one of only two Arizona offensive tackles selected to the All-Pac-10/12 team, is the next player I will spotlight in this site’s honoring the best that have played football since the Wildcats joined the conference in 1978.
Glenn Parker is the other offensive tackle selected an All-Pac-10 player in 1989.
Britton is the only UA offensive tackle with a first-team, second-team and honorable-mention selection, making him the most successful over the course of a career.
Britton, in his fifth NFL season, moved to left tackle from right tackle in his junior season of 2008 for Arizona, and according to coaches registered a school season-record 111 important knockdowns. He was named First-team All-Pac-10. In the previous season, he played right tackle and earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors. As a redshirt sophomore in 2006, the coaches voted him Arizona’s most consistent and best offensive lineman.
Had Britton stayed for his senior season in 2009, he likely would have been named an All-American.
At 6-foot-6, 309 pounds, Britton is one of the most physically imposing players ever to wear the Arizona uniform. He matched his intelligence — he majored in creative writing — with his brawn. In his three years at the UA, he recorded 289 knockdowns and was only penalized four times in 2,461 career snaps.
He was selected in the second round by Jacksonville in 2009. After four seasons with the Jaguars — who eventually moved him to left guard — Britton signed a one-year deal with Chicago in April. The Bears refer to Britton as a guard and tackle in their press release about his signing, but media reports suggest he will play in the interior as a guard.
Britton started 15 games as a rookie but injuries derailed his career in the last couple of seasons. Shoulder and back issues forced him to the sideline and out of his starting right tackle position. The Jaguars eventually moved him to left guard and benched him in favor of undrafted rookie Mike Brewster last season.
Zack Rosenblatt of the Arizona Daily Wildcat wrote a fine article about Britton last May. In it, Rosenblatt writes that a tattoo on Britton’s right forearm reads, “vitualamen pro fatum,” a Latin phrase meaning “sacrifice for destiny.”
“It really struck a chord with me,” Britton told Rosenblatt. “I try to live my life that way. I’ve always been a ‘things happen for a reason’ kind of guy. I’ve always put myself on the path to reach where I’m at. It can be destiny or just me working my ass off, but that saying made sense to me.”
The best No. 84 to play for Arizona? According to Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com that honor goes to Kevin Singleton, twin brother of Chris Singleton, the best No. 87 ever to wear the uniform. Diagnosed with leukemia in 1989, Kevin received a marrow transplant from Chris, miraculously returned to the field in 1990 and later served as a graduate assistant coach.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.