Counting Down The 15 Greatest Linebackers In NFL History
15. Bill George – Chicago Bears/Los Angeles Rams
Bill George, pretty much the first real middle linebacker is thus the creator of the 4-3 defense, so his legacy to the game is immeasurable. George was drafted by Chicago in 1951, had played fifteen seasons in NFL, had eight Pro Bowls, eight All-Pro appearances and NFL Championship in 1963. He died in 1983.
14. Bobby Bell – Kansas City Chiefs
In his twelve seasons in NFL, Bobby Bell, linebacker and defensive end for Kansas City who drafted him in 1963, had three Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pros and had won two American Football League Championships, in 1966 and 1969. In 1983, Bobby Bell was introduced to NFL Hall of Fame and was elected to the All-decade 1970s team.
13. Sam Huff – New York Giants/Washington Redskins
Throughout his thirteen seasons in NFL, Sam Huff played with New York Giants and Boston Redskins. Huff was drafted as the 30th overall pick in 1956, and was five-time Pro-Bowl selection, and had won NFL Championship in 1956 with New York Giants. Huff was introduced to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He died in 2016.
12. Chuck Bednarik – Philadelphia Eagles
First overall draft by Philadelphia in 1949, Chuck Bednarik played in NFL for fourteen seasons. Bednarik is considered to be the last full-time two-way player, acting as both linebacker and center. He won two NFL championships, was elected to Pro-Bowl eight times and ten times to All-Pro, named also the NFL`s 75th-anniversary All-Time and All-Decade team of the 1950s. He was introduced to the Hall of Fame in 1967.
11. Willie Lanier – Kansas City Chiefs
Linebacker for Kansas City Chiefs drafted as the 50th overall pick in 1967, Willie Lanier won Super Bowl IV playing with Chiefs. Lanier was the member of NFL`s 75th anniversary All-Time team. Lanier was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and was named Walter Peyton NFL Man of the year in 1972.
10. Junior Seau – San Diego Chargers/Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots
Fifth overall pick by San Diego Chargers at 1990 NFL Draft, Junior Seau spent twenty seasons playing in NFL, starting with Chargers and then moving to Dolphins and Patriots. Seau was named NFL Defensive player of the year in 1992, 1990 All-Decade team and he made 12 Pro Bowl and 10 All-Pro appearances. Seau committed suicide in 2012 and was introduced to the hall of fame in 2015.
9. Ted Hendricks – Baltimore Colts/Green Bay Packers/Oakland Raiders/Los Angeles Raiders
Throughout fifteen seasons he played in NFL, Ted Hendricks played with Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Raiders. Drafted in 1969, Hendricks was planned for the tight end position. He won four Super Bowls and was elected Pro Bowl eight times and All-Pro nine times. He was named to the 75th Anniversary All-Time as well as the 1970s and 1980s all-decade teams. He was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
8. Jack Ham – Pittsburgh Steelers
Drafted 34th overall at 1971 Draft by Pittsburgh Steelers, Jack Ham played in NFL for twelve seasons. Ham was the member of famous Steel Curtain defense which won four Super Bowls. Ham was elected to 75th Anniversary All-Time, 1970s All-decade team and was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1988.
7. Joe Schmidt – Detroit Lions
Linebacker for Detroit Lions for thirteen seasons, Joe Schmidt was drafted as the 85th overall pick in 1953. He was Pro Bowler and All-Pro ten times each and was named to the 1950s All-Decade Team. Schmidt won two NFL championships with lions, and after retirement coached the team with the 45-35-7 record. He was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1973.
6. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens
Drafted as the 26th overall pick by Baltimore Ravens in 1996, Ray Lewis stayed with the team for seventeen seasons and is regarded as the heart and the soul of it. He won two Super Bowl titles and was named Super Bowl MVP, as well as NFL`s defensive player of the year on two occasions. He was elected into 2000s All-decade team.
5. Ray Nitschke – Green Bay Packers
Drafted 36th overall in 1950 by Green Bay Packers, Ray Nitschke stayed with the team for fifteen seasons. Nitschke won two Super Bowls, the I and II, as well as five NFL Championships and was named the MVP of 1962 championship finals. Nitschke was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1978. He died in 1998, at age of 61.
4. Jack Lambert – Pittsburgh Steelers
Over the eleven seasons he spent with Pittsburgh Steelers, Jack Lambert won four Super Bowls. His decorations streak started with Defensive Rookie of the year award in 1974, and continued with eight All-Pros, nine Pro Bowls, memberships in the 1970s and 1980s All decade teams and was finally crowned with Hall of Fame introduction in 1990.
3. Dick Butkus – Chicago Bears
`The most feared tackler of all time`, Dick Butkus played with Chicago Bears for nine seasons. Named NFL Defensive player of the year twice, Butkus was also elected to Pro Bowl and All-Pro eight-time each. He is the member of 75th Anniversary All Time and 1970s and 1980s all-decade teams, as well as the Pro Football Hall of fame.
2. Mike Singletary – Chicago Bears
Ten-time Pro Bowler and nine-time All-Pro Mike Singletary aka Samurai Mike was the central figure to famous Bears` Monsters of the Midway defense in Super Bowl XX-winning season.Singletary was named a defensive player of the year in 1985 and 1988 and was introduced to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
1. Lawrence Taylor – New York Giants
Second overall pick of 1980 NFL Drafts, picked by New York Giants, Lawrence Taylor stayed with Giants for 13 seasons. Arguably the best defensive player NFL has ever had the honor to have, Taylor, won three Defensive Player of the Year Awards and was named to Pro-Bowl and All-Pro ten times each. Taylor is a member of 75th anniversary All Time as well as 1980s All-Decade team. He was NFL`s MVP in 1986 and was introduced to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.