The NFL’s Most Feared
The National Football League is known for its hard hits, horrendous injuries, and massive personnel. Here are its 10 scariest players (and one from the past).
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The National Football League (NFL) is known for its hard hits, horrendous injuries, and massive players. Former players have gone on to be UFC fighters, hardened criminals, and even serial killers. This Halloween, here’s a profile on the 10 scariest players currently in the NFL. Trick or treat!
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Budda Baker’s tweet from 2020 just about summed it up: “DK [METCALF] HAWKED MY [EXPLETIVE].” Baker was the latest victim of the Seattle wideout’s antics. A physical specimen, Metcalf measures up at 6’ 4’’, 235 pounds, metrics unheard of for an offensive skill player. His pre-draft workout picture went viral, making him one of the most feared players in the league even before joining. When Baker’s Cardinals faced off against Metcalf’s Seahawks last season, a rare errant throw from Russell Wilson led to an interception by Baker. Baker looked to have a clear path to the endzone for a pick six, but Metcalf came out of nowhere after chasing him for over 50 yards and blanketed him, taking him down from behind. This play instantly went viral and was just one example of Metcalf’s physicality. Throughout his young career, Metcalf has been terrorizing defenses with his stiff arms, trucks, and overall power. There’s not a cornerback or defensive coordinator in the league who would want to cross paths with him.
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants
Kids, that monster under your bed might just be Jason Pierre-Paul. A 6’ 5’’, 275 pound menace, he has been a terror in this league for years. His career saga is something out of a Marvel movie. After he blew one of his fingers off working with fireworks during a Fourth of July celebration, his Super Bowl-winning career was suddenly in question, and many feared that this accident was the untimely end of Pierre-Paul’s time on the gridiron. Instead, he doubled down and is still a top defender in the league, a menace playing alongside Tom Brady, who was harassed in encounters with Pierre-Paul in the past.
Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett has quickly built his reputation as one of the most feared players in the league. The NFL sack leader and candidate for Defensive Player of the Year has also been known for his dirty off-field tactics, epitomized by when he got into a scuffle with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. Garrett hit the Pittsburgh quarterback in the head with a helmet, earning both players suspensions. This October, Garrett posted a photo on social media of his new backyard lawn design, a graveyard with tombstones of all of the quarterbacks he has terrorized (with 5’ 10” Kyler Murray’s noticeably being the shortest).
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald is indisputably the best defender in the league and in the conversation for one of the greatest of all time. Double teams and triple teams often aren’t nearly enough to cover Donald, as he gets to the quarterback, stops the running back in his tracks, or bats down a ball at the line. With “99” emblazoned across the chest, it’s hard to miss him on the field. Watching him on a Rams defensive drive is simply terrifying for even the best visiting players, a testament to the fact that with Donald and a good offense, the Rams are Super Bowl contenders.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
Derrick Henry is, without question, the best and hardest runner in the league. Henry’s height and weight are those of a defensive back, making him nearly impossible to tackle (just ask Josh Norman). King Henry is posting 2,000 yard seasons consistently with no signs of slowing down. He does the football equivalent of putting a player on a poster with his powerful stiff arms, jukes, and brute force on the weekly. In an age when running backs have been known to be less durable and have shorter careers, Henry is changing the ground game on his own terms. Meanwhile, Norman and dozens of other defenders still have nightmares about Henry.
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rob Gronkowki is known just as much for his presence off the field as his presence on the field. Gronk took a brief sabbatical from the NFL two seasons ago when he won a WWE fight and danced alongside popular rappers on stage during concerts. Now, he is back to football, doing what he does best. He is still the gold standard for tight ends, with his signature yards after catch often dragging defensive players at his feet. He’ll reel you in with his lovable charisma, but no defender wants to be responsible for the man who fundamentally changed the tight end position in the NFL. Not to mention, he is a touchdown machine and just like his career quarterback, Brady, has not missed a step.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the most flamboyant players in the NFL. Beckham Jr. made his name in New York with his ridiculous one-handed grab that will go down as one of the greatest catches of all time. Since being traded to Cleveland, he has struggled with injuries, but he is still quite a character. Known for his frequent spats with opposing cornerbacks, he was once seen kicking down field goal practice posts in anger on the sidelines. His trash talk and touchdown celebrations still make him a force to be reckoned with. One particularly memorable celebration was when Beckham got down on all fours and mimed urinating like a dog on the opposing team. One wouldn’t want to be a piece of gear on the sideline when he’s angry.
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Brown, self-proclaimed to be “BOOMIN’” after all he’s done and gone through, is still one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. He is also one of the most enigmatic players in the league. After an award-laden career in Pittsburgh, Brown made his way to the Raiders and then quickly joined Brady in New England… for one game. Now, he is booming on the Buccaneers alongside Brady, who let Brown stay in his mansion with him when he moved to Florida. Off the field, Brown’s behavior is just as volatile. In his brief stint with the Raiders, Brown reportedly had a heated altercation with General Manager Mike Mayock. Then, after being signed by the Patriots, the NFL opened an investigation into several sexual assault allegations against him. He was suspended for the rest of the season and joined the Buccaneers, where, in the opening weeks of camp, he made headlines for throwing his bicycle at a security officer, sending threatening text messages to accusers, and stealing a car.
Richard Sherman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A founding member of the Seahawks’ vaunted Legion of Boom secondary, Richard Sherman is known for his brash attitude, lockdown defense, and flying dreads. After the Seahawks beat Brady’s Patriots, Sherman followed Brady postgame and asked him, “You mad, bro?” Now, they’re teammates. With two hardened Florida men with intense past rivalries, what could possibly go wrong?
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The GOAT may not look like your typical NFL trash talker. But over his two decades in the league, Brady has developed some of the best lines in the game. Here are a few of his most memorable ones:
On Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel: “[Vrabel]’s a real [EXPLETIVE] when you get to know him. He went to Ohio State. Obviously, I don’t like him. There’s a healthy rivalry between us, even though he’s kind of fat and out of shape. Physically, he’s really declined to a pretty sad state.”
On strawberries: “I’ve never eaten a strawberry in my life. I have no desire to do so.”
And, if he doesn’t kill you with his jokes, he will finish you off with his play (Unless you’re Eli Manning). Just about no one wants to play against the Old Man Tom. Not even Father Time.