5. Tom Brady (QB, Patriots) – This list is based on physical toughness and there are several players who arguably deserve this spot (Brian Dawkins comes to mind). I put Tom Terrific on this list because behind those baby blue eyes is the heart of a killer. There is something about Brady that wants to crush his opponent. This is the distinction I draw between him and the second best player in the league, Peyton Manning. Manning is a perfectionist who will do whatever it takes to win. But there is something about Brady that says, if he could play LB, he would to help the team win.
4. Ray Lewis (LB, Ravens) – In years past, Lewis would have been higher on this list. When you can intimidate a man’s man like Eddie George, you’ve done something. Lewis’ body is a heat-seeking missile of mass destruction. He will give his body up for the team. But his most dangerous attribute is his intellect. I’m reminded of Mike Singletary and the late Sam Mills who got in their opponent’s head. I can tell you first hand that there’s nothing more demoralizing than watching the player across from you call out every one of your plays before they happen because they know your formations and tendencies. Lewis is that kind of genius.
3. Darnell Dockett (DT, Cardinals) – Dockett is one of the emmerging young stars in the league. He is a mean defender who seeks to create carnage. Dockett has taken the place of Tommie Harris as that undersized DT who wreaks havoc in the backfield of his opponent. Dockett hails from FSU and is not accustomed to the anonymity of life in the dessert. I mention this because I think it is also a driving factor for him. He knows his game will have to bring the attention he rightfully wants.
2. James Harrison (LB, Steelers) – Any man who turns down an opportunity to meet the president must have a screw or two loose. Harrison is a little man in stature who has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Appalachian Mountains. The bigger they are, the meaner he gets. Offensive lineman shutter when they have to face this pint sized dynamo. I’ve been told Harrison has a sense of humor but I get the impression that amusement for him might be ripping off an opponent’s fingernails with a set of rusty pliers. Maybe that’s an overstatement. Then again, maybe not.
1. Marc Colombo (OT, Cowboys) – Colombo is not among the most gifted athletes in the NFL. In fact, I would say he is in the lowest percentile of athleticism in the league. But there is no doubt he’s mean, vile, nasty, cantankerous … you get the picture. Colombo plays with bad intentions and he wants to maul you. Colombo has taken the spot held for a decade by Jon Runyan and, like his predecessor, gets beat from time to time. But his willingness to throw his body around is admirable. I must confess, it was music that convinced me Colombo was No. 1 on this list. Colombo is the lead singer of a heavy — and I mean heavy — metal band that includes other tough guys in Leonard Davis and Kyle Kosier. Listen to the rage with which he sings. That elevator is not going up to the top floor.
What say you?
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