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dhosmer
09-05-2006, 12:16 AM
Five toughest players in the NFL
Insider
By Matt Williamson
Scouts Inc.
Archive

Every player in the NFL considers himself tough, but certain players simply rise above the pack when it comes to toughness. These are the guys who are mentally tough, perform when the game is on the line, can be counted on by coaches and teammates, have stood the test of time and can handle the rigors of the league. These men rarely miss time due to injures and inspire those around them. Which players best fit this description? Who are the NFL's true tough guys?

Tom Brady
We all know about Brady's postseason brilliance, but a true testament to his toughness was his performance last season. He probably had the best season of his career, despite losing his starting left tackle and center for almost the entire year. The Patriots also had multiple injuries at running back and wide receiver, and Brady played hurt for much of 2005 as well. He not only orchestrated the offense and called audibles, but helped make the offensive line calls. Brady makes every player on New England's roster better and is a vocal leader. No quarterback in the league is more competitive or fearless in the pocket; Brady will step into throws with total disregard for his body, despite facing a heavy pass rush. Praising Brady can get redundant, but he is truly special and the best (and maybe the toughest) player in the league.

Derrick Brooks
Brooks has been the leader of one of the top defenses in the game for the last decade. He has stood the test of time as well as any player in recent memory. He is a bright and extremely competitive leader who teaches those around him how to be great. He is also still a top playmaker in every facet of his position. Brooks never misses a game, prepares extremely hard and is as reliable as they come. He is a fixture in the Pro Bowl and has a Super Bowl victory under his belt. They should just start forging his Hall of Fame bust now.

Byron Leftwich
He doesn't have the rings and still has his share of naysayers, but this guy is as tough as leather -- almost to a fault. The Jaguars' offense belongs to Leftwich and what he says in the huddle goes. He commands respect and never backs down from a challenge. Leftwich will run through a wall to help his team win. His teammates love him for it. This guy stands strong in the pocket and steps right into a fierce rush, often taking hits that would cripple other quarterbacks. Remember the image of those Marshall linemen carrying his abused body down the field so Leftwich could continue the drive? He is also turning into a pretty decent quarterback.

Hines Ward
With a gigantic smile on his face, Ward levels a linebacker and springs Willie Parker for a long gain. The reigning Super Bowl MVP steps his game up when it matters most and is able to produce at a high level, even when he is the only top receiving option on the field. Ward paid his dues in the league as a special teams demon and has dealt with the barrage of wide receivers the Steelers have selected in the first round since he arrived. He works hard and rises to the top. He also isn't like most wide receivers who litter NFL rosters. He is all heart and a joy to watch, not to mention as tough as they come.

Walter Jones
Jones misses training camp every year, yet absolutely dominates every defensive end in the league, making it look easy. He rarely misses games, inflicts a punch better than any lineman in the game and finishes his blocks with a nasty streak. Jones ensures that Matt Hasselbeck never has to worry about getting blindsided, a nice feeling for a quarterback. On fourth and 1, everyone in the stadium knows the Seahawks are running behind Jones. There isn't an offensive lineman in the league even close to this guy.

Matt Williamson was a scout for the Cleveland Browns in 2004. Previously, he was director of football operations at Akron and spent three years as a recruiting assistant at Pittsburgh.

70c10
09-05-2006, 12:18 AM
Hines gets my vote!

HometownGal
09-05-2006, 09:00 AM
I have to definitely agree with all of those players and add John Lynch to the mix. He's not that big of a guy in stature, but he's about as tough as they come and gives 150% each and every game.

Mosca
09-05-2006, 09:52 AM
I've always been a huge fan of Leftwich; he reminds me of the guys from the '30s, guys like Nagurski. He could be down by 24 with 6 minutes left and he's still figuring out a way to win.


Tom

ibleedburgundy
09-05-2006, 01:27 PM
Leftwich's backup is tougher than he is.

19ward86
09-05-2006, 03:54 PM
hines is the second toughest behind brett favre,and third is porter.

boLT fan
09-09-2006, 09:17 PM
Byron Leftwich is on there and Brett Favre isn't? Did I miss something?

Stillers#1
09-09-2006, 11:54 PM
ever see the game in college where he was being carried by his linemen? leftwich is the definition of tough if you ask me. He just hasn't done it as long as Favre.

MattsMe
09-10-2006, 01:12 AM
I'm wondering where Favre is also. Oh well, most articles like this are bogus anyway.

tony hipchest
09-10-2006, 01:24 AM
I'm wondering where Favre is also. Oh well, most articles like this are bogus anyway.i wouldnt think rectal muscles came into play in an article like this but with farve and mcnair out and brady in, i guess anything can happen. and since when does skipping out on camp every year (w. jones) make one tough?

MattsMe
09-10-2006, 05:20 PM
i wouldnt think rectal muscles came into play in an article like this but with farve and mcnair out and brady in, i guess anything can happen. and since when does skipping out on camp every year (w. jones) make one tough?

:sofunny: Good points.