Spare me! I've already chucked up lunch twice over the Ray Lewis love feast, now that the big slop has announced his retirement. This is, of course, a strategically planned motivational ploy by him, hoping to elevate himself and his dirty bird teammates to a SB. Hopefully, he and his Buzzards will be eliminated sooner than later, to spare us having to listen to endless hours of talking head discussions about how wonderful, lovable ol' Ray Ray is...and how he is the greatest defender and leader in NFL history: http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/62536/ray-lewis-greatest-defensive-player-ever
The above article by Jamison Hemsley shows that he knows as much about football as the late Sherman Hemsley, a/k/a George Jefferson. Really...Ray Lewis...the greatest defensive player ever? Let me set my own personal dislike aside for this overrated thug, who portrays himself as a cross between the Reverend Ike and Mike Singletary...and try to be objective. Here are my top 5 defenders:
1.) OLB Lawrence Taylor: No one else is even close. You may hate what he's done off the field, but on the field, he was an absolute terror. Revolutionized the LB position...and has influenced defensive skemes, to this day. Everyone looks for "the next LT"...that fierce blind-side pass-rusher who could totally ruin any offensive attack. He was the real deal...the original "LT"...not that cry-baby RB, who finished his championship-less career with the Jests;
2.) DE Reggie White: The "Minister of Defense". Unstoppable force as a DE.
3.) MLB Dick Butkus: Not only is Ray Lewis not the greatest defender of all-time, but he wasn't even the greatest MLB of all-time. For those of you who never got to see him play, watch the two minute highlight film that the NFL has on him. You'll see all you need to know. Imagine a bigger, faster, full tilt/full time Tedy Bruschi...with a junk yard dog mean steak...and you have Butkus;
4.) DE David "Deacon" Jones: Grossly underrated player. A bigger version of Dwight Freeney, with a mile wide mean streak. If sack stats were kept when The Deacon played, he might have the all-time sack record;
5a.) DE Doug Atkins: Going back a few years...but this guy was both dominant, and feared. A menace, at 6'8", 275 lbs. Played most of his career with the Chicago Bears. Imagine J.J. Watt stringing together 10 straight seasons, like the one he's had this season. That describes Atkins' career: http://www.chicagobears.com/tradition/bears-in-the-hall/doug-atkins.html
5b.) CB Deion Sanders: Look up the definition of a shut-down CB, and you'll see Deion's photo. Teams simply could not, and would not, throw to his side of the field. Though his critics would say that he couldn't tackle...he could cover, like white on rice. Was also the greatest punt returner, and most dangerous man on an interception return that I've ever seen.