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Opinion: Greatest NFL players by uniform number: From No. 00 Jim Otto to No. 99 J.J. Watt  3 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

To celebrate the NFL's 100 anniversary season, the USA TODAY Sports Network is compiling a variety of lists and stories that look at the league's history. Here are the best players at 100 different uniform numbers:

Team: Oakland Raiders

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 10-time all-pro

Also considered: Ken Burrough

An original Raider and one of three players to play all of his team's games in the 10-year history of the American Football League, Otto is considered one of the greatest centers ever.

Teams: Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1990 NFL offensive player of the year

Also considered: Cam Newton

Moon's skill set was an ideal fit for the Oilers' run-and-shoot offense that lit up scoreboards in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Moon said he wore No. 1 because, "I always want to remind my teammates that I’m the man who can get it done."

Team: Atlanta Falcons

Career accolades: 2016 NFL MVP and offensive player of the year, four-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Charley Trippi

The Falcons have made the playoffs six times in Ryan's 11-year career. In the 32 years prior to Ryan's arrival in Atlanta, the Falcons made the playoffs eight times.

Team: Chicago Bears

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time NFL champion, four-time all-pro

Also considered: Jan Stenerud

Nagurski cemented his legendary status when he helped the Bears win the 1943 NFL championship after being retired for five years.

Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, three-time NFL MVP 

Also considered: Tuffy Leemans

The "Gunslinger" played in an NFL record 299 consecutive games, retiring as the NFL's all-time leading passer.

Team: Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time NFL champion, 1961 NFL MVP

Also considered: George McAfee, Donovan McNabb

Hornung played halfback as well as placekicker for the Packers and set an NFL record with 176 points in 1960 (in a 12-game season), which stood for 46 years until LaDainian Tomlinson broke it in 2006.

Team: New Orleans Saints

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, one-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Jay Cutler, Johnny Hekker

Morstead was vital in "Ambush," the Saints' gutsy call to open the second half of Super Bowl XLIV with an onside kick. Morstead pulled it off, with a little help from his teammates, and the Saints went on to defeat the Colts.

Team: Denver Broncos

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion, 1987 NFL MVP 

Also considered: Mel Hein, Bob Waterfield

Entered NFL lore with "The Drive," leading the Broncos to the first of five Super Bowl appearances during Elway's career. 

Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Troy Aikman, Larry Wilson

Threw six touchdown passes during an MVP performance in Super Bowl XXIX.

Teams: San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints 

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL offensive player of the year

Also considered: Sonny Jurgensen

Already the NFL's all-time leading passing yardage leader, Brees needs 20 touchdown passes in 2019 to surpass Peyton Manning atop the career list.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1975 NFL MVP

Also considered: Eli Manning

An accomplished scrambler, Tarkenton held most major passing records at the time of his retirement. 

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Career accolades: 11-time Pro Bowler, 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

Also considered: Julio Jones, Norm Van Brocklin 

Fitzgerald trails only Jerry Rice in career receiving yards (and nobody might ever pass Rice's totals).

Team: New England Patriots

Career accolades: Six-time Super Bowl champion, three-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly, Joe Namath, Aaron Rodgers, Roger Staubach

Chances are good that many will consider the No. 199th overall selection in the 2000 NFL draft the greatest quarterback in league history.

Team: Miami Dolphins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1984 NFL MVP

Also considered: Kurt Warner

A strong arm and quick release helped Marino become one of the league's most prolific passers. His 1984 record-setting numbers (5,084 yards, 48 TDs) took two decades to break.

Team: Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time NFL champion

Also considered: Otto Graham, Dan Fouts

Hutson's 99 career touchdown receptions stood as an NFL record for decades until Steve Largent broke it in 1989.

Team: Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time NFL champion, 1966 NFL MVP

Also considered: Steve Van Buren

The MVP of the first two Super Bowls, Starr lost just one postseason game as Vince Lombardi's Packers won five titles in seven seasons in the 1960s.

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl winner, two-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Len Dawson, Frank Gifford

"Joe Cool" was known for his late-game comebacks, most notably the 1981 NFC Championship that resulted in "The Catch" and a 92-yard drive to win Super Bowl XXIII.

Team: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers

Career accolades: Eight-time Pro Bowl selection

Also considered: Don Meredith, Harold Carmichael

Rivers enters the 2019 season ranked sixth all time in passing touchdowns and eighth in passing yards.

Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos

Career accolades: Two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Charlie Joiner

Manning — the only quarterback to lead two different teams to Super Bowl wins — holds the records for most passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) in a single season. 

Teams: Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time NFL champion, three-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Lance Alworth

Late-game heroics in "The Greatest Game Ever Played" made Unitas an NFL icon.

Team: Detroit Lions

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1997 NFL MVP

Also considered: Lem Barney

One of the most elusive runners ever, Sanders — a two-time NFL offensive player of the year — was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 NFL seasons.

Teams: Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: LaDainian Tomlinson

With a knack for the big play, "Prime Time" scored touchdowns on interception returns, punt and kickoff returns, as well as a wide receiver.

Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time Super Bowl champion, 1993 NFL MVP

Also considered: Mike Haynes, Bobby Layne

Smith, who led the league in rushing yards four times, is the NFL's all-time career rushing yardage leader.

Teams: Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks

Career accolades: Four-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Troy Vincent, Arian Foster

Hester — arguably the most dangerous return specialist in league history — returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI for a touchdown.

Teams: New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs 

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, seven-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Lenny Moore, Willie Wood

"Revis Island" was not a desirable destination for opposing receivers.

Team: Oakland Raiders

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Richard Sherman

The sure-handed Biletnikoff was game MVP in the Raiders' triumph in Super Bowl XI.

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, 1993 NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Herb Adderley

Woodson was named to the NFL's 75th anniversary all-time team while only midway through his playing career.

Teams: Houston Oilers, Washington Redskins 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 12-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Steve Atwater, Eddie George

The premier safety of his era, Houston's record in 1971 of five return touchdowns (four interceptions, one fumble) would stand for 35 years until Devin Hester broke it.

Teams: Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, 2000 NFL MVP

Also considered: Darrell Green, Adrian Peterson, Curtis Martin

As vital cog in "The Greatest Show on Turf," Faulk was lethal as both runner and receiver, becoming the second player ever with 1,000-plus yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raiders, Atlanta Falcons

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1986 NFL offensive player of the year

Also considered: Earl Thomas

Dickerson led the NFL in rushing yards in three of his first four seasons, including a record 2,105 yards in 1984.

Team: Denver Broncos

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion, 1998 NFL MVP

Also considered: Bill Willis, Clarke Hinkle

Followed up three-touchdown MVP performance in Super Bowl XXXII with a 2,000-yard rushing season in 1998.

Teams: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time NFL champion, 1962 NFL MVP

Also considered: Donnie Shell

Taylor led NFL in rushing yards (1,474) in 1962, the only season that Jim Brown did not lead the league in rushing during his nine-year career.

Team: Cleveland Browns

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL champion, three-time NFL MVP

Also considered: Marcus Allen, Franco Harris, O.J. Simpson

Among the greatest players in league history, Brown is the only player to finish his career averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game.

Team: Washington Redskins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Tony Dorsett, Roger Craig

On top of being a transcendent passing talent, Baugh also was one of the top punters and defensive backs of his era.

Team: Chicago Bears

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, 1977 NFL MVP

Also considered: Earl Campbell, Thurman Thomas

"Sweetness" retired as the NFL's all-time leader in rushing yards with 16,726.

Teams: Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, eight-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: John Henry Johnson, Pete Pihos

One of the top cornerbacks in league history was a walk-on at Southern University.

Teams: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: LeRoy Butler

"The Bus" capped his career by helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit.

Team: Detroit Lions

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Jimmy Johnson, Lester Hayes

The Lions won three NFL titles in the 1950s, and Walker was a major contributor on two of those title-winning teams.

Teams: Green Bay Packers, New York Giants 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time NFL champion

Also considered: George Rogers

Herber teamed with Don Hutson to form dynamic passing duo for coach Curly Lambeau's potent Packers teams of the 1930s.

Teams: Miami Dolphins, New York Giants

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Hugh McElhenny

Csonka rushed for a career-high 1,117 yards during the Dolphins' 17-0 1972 season.

Team: Chicago Bears

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time all-pro

Also considered: Pat Tillman, Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch

Sayers has one of the best sizzle reels of any running back in NFL history.

Team: New York Jets

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Alvin Kamara, Eugene Robinson 

Snell rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown in the Jets' stunning upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Sid Luckman, Charley Taylor, Paul Warfield

Lott, a feared hitter who also had 63 interceptions in his career, famously had the tip of his finger amputated in order to keep playing.

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Two-time Super Bowl champion, 2010 NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Cliff Harris

One of the top safeties of his era, Polamalu was named to the NFL's 2000s all-decade team.

Teams: New York Jets, Washington Redskins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Leroy Kelly, Dick LeBeau

The "Diesel" is famous for a touchdown run on fourth-and-1 against the Dolphins that propelled the Redskins to their first Super Bowl win.

Teams: New York Giants, Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Kenny Easley 

One of the great defensive backs in NFL history, Tunnell is second on the all-time list with 79 interceptions.

Teams: New York Giants, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Career accolades: Two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Tim McDonald

One of top tight ends of his era, Christensen led the NFL in receptions twice and recorded more than 1,000 yards receiving three times.

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion, 1975 NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: John Lynch

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Blount — the first cornerback to be named defensive player of the year — was the premier shutdown corner of his era.

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Career accolades: Three-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Stephen Davis 

The "Moose" helped pave the way for the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith.

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Dennis Smith

Played as a running back while with the Browns, and as a receiver while as a member of the Redskins.

Team: Chicago Bears

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, two-time defensive player of the year

Also considered: Alex Wojciechowicz

Singletary was the Bears' first- or second-leading tackler in each of his 11 seasons.

Team: Chicago Bears

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, eight-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Sam Mills

Butkus was a devastating presence at middle linebacker.

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Mike Webster, Patrick Willis

Lewis was the MVP in the Ravens' win over the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.

Team: New York Giants

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, nine-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Mick Tingelhoff, Randy Gradishar

When Carson was joined by Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks, the Giants boasted the NFL's best trio of linebackers.

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Brian Urlacher

Star of Dallas' Doomsday Defense, White was nicknamed "The Manster" (half man, half monster).

Teams: San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots

Career accolades:  Pro Football Hall of Famer, 12-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Derrick Brooks

Seau played a vital role in leading the Chargers to the only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

Team: New York Giants

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion, 1986 NFL MVP

Also considered: Chris Doleman

Taylor remains the last defensive player to win the league's MVP award.

Team: Miami Dolphins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Rickey Jackson

Stephenson is considered the best center of his era.

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion, 1976 NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Derrick Thomas

Ferocious presence for the Steelers' "Steal Curtain" defense, Lambert was also a Pro Bowl selection in nine of his 11 NFL seasons.

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion, eight-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Luke Kuechly

Ham is among the best outside linebackers in league history.

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Tommy Nobis

"Concrete Charlie" famously played both ways in the Eagles' triumph in the 1960 NFL championship game.

Teams: Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, one-time NFL champion

Also considered: Curley Culp

George is often credited as being the first great Bears middle linebacker (a tradition carried on by Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher). 

Team: Miami Dolphins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Charley Trippi

Langer played every down during the Dolphins' perfect 1972 season.

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Gene Upshaw, Lee Roy Selmon

Lanier was a pioneer, as the first African-American to excel at the demanding middle linebacker position.

Team: Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time NFL champion

Also considered: Randall McDaniel 

A vital cog in Vince Lombardi's famed sweep play, Kramer also made one of the most famous blocks in league history, paving the way for Bart Starr's winning touchdown in the Ice Bowl.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Elvin Bethea 

Zimmerman's final NFL game was the Broncos' win over the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.

Team: Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time NFL champion

Also considered: Clyde "Bulldog" Turner

Nitschke was the game MVP in the Packers' victory over the Giants in the 1962 NFL championship, a triumph that capped arguably the Packers' best season under Vince Lombardi.

Team: Miami Dolphins

Career accolades: Two-time Super Bowl champion, six-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Kent Hull

Kuechenberg appeared in four Super Bowls during his career with the Dolphins.

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 12-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Russ Grimm, Kevin Mawae 

Made 223 starts in 224 games — both Chiefs franchise records — over 14-year career.

Teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

Career accolades: Five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Jon Runyan, Tim Krumrie

Allen posted double-digit sack seasons eight times, including a career-high 22 in 2011.

Teams: New York Giants, Washington Redskins

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL champion

Also considered: Ernie Stautner, Art Donovan

An elite defender, Huff emerged as an on- and off-field star in New York and appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine, a big deal for a pro football player at that time.

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, nine-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: George Connor

With Jones and Steve Hutchinson, the Seahawks possessed the NFL's best left side of the offensive line.

Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, six-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Ed "Too Tall" Jones

Before spending nearly three decades as a broadcaster, Dierdorf was one of the top offensive linemen of his era.

Team: New England Patriots

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, nine-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Larry Allen, Joe Thomas

The premier guard of his era, Hannah was named to the NFL's all-decade teams for the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the NFL's 75th anniversary all-time team.

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, 11-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Merlin Olsen, Bruce Matthews

Lilly was the first draft pick in Cowboys history, and also the franchise's first Hall of Famer.

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Deacon Jones, Jonathan Ogden, Howie Long, Forrest Gregg

Greene was an intimidating force on the defensive line of the Steelers' famed "Steel Curtain." 

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL champion, four-time AAFC champion

Also considered: Orlando Pace 

A year before Jackie Robinson debuted with baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers, Motley and Bill Willis played for the AAFC's Browns, and Kenny Washington and Woody Strode played for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

Teams: Chicago Bears, New York Yankees

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Willie Roaf

The Bears' signing of "The Galloping Ghost" helped vault pro football into national prominence.

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 11-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Bruce Smith, Bobby Bell, Art Shell

Munoz — arguably the greatest offensive lineman in league history — was a first-team all-pro selection in nine of his 13 NFL seasons. 

Team: New York Giants

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL champion

Also considered: Bob St. Clair 

Brown, a 27th-round draft choice, earned the starting job his rookie season and was a stalwart as the Giants emerged as an NFL powerhouse.

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, three-time Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL offensive player of the year

Also considered: Steve Largent, Kellen Winslow

Over the course of a 20-year career, Rice established records that might never be broken.

Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals, Detroit Lions

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, seven-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Doug Atkins, Torry Holt, Terrell Owens

Lane's 14 interceptions during his rookie season is still the NFL record, and he set that mark in a 12-game regular season.

Team: Baltimore Colts

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Ozzie Newsome

Berry and Johnny Unitas formed one of the all-time great passing combos, one that was vital in the Colts' overtime victory in "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Teams: Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, four-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Andre Reed

Standing at 6-foot-7, "The Mad Stork" was a menacing figure on defense.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, six-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Antonio Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Sterling Sharpe

Moss led the league in touchdown receptions five times in his career, including a record-setting 23 TD catches in 2007.

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, seven-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Nick Buoniconti, Antonio Gates, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson

Talk about toughness, Youngblood played with a fractured left fibula during the playoffs as the Rams reached Super Bowl XIV.

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Hines Ward

Buchanan helped the Chiefs shut down the heavily favored Vikings in Super Bowl IV upset.

Team: New England Patriots

Career accolades: Three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Willie Davis

A strong case could be made that Gronkowski is the best tight end in NFL history.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Tony Gonzalez, John Mackey, Lynn Swann

Member of the Vikings' famed "Purple People Eaters," Page played in 238 consecutive games (including four Super Bowls).

Teams: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time NFL champion

Also considered: Gino Marchetti

Won 1963 NFL championship with Bears, Super Bowl VI with Cowboys, and then coached the Bears to victory in Super Bowl XX.

Teams: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers

Career accolades: Nine-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Neil Smith

Peppers has registered 10 double-digit sack seasons during his 17-year career.

Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Leslie O'Neal, Cameron Wake

With 160 career sacks, Greene is behind only Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198) on the NFL's all-time list.

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, Super Bowl champion, two-time NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Michael Strahan

"The Minister of Defense" was the NFL's first elite free agent, and his signing with the Packers was a watershed moment for pro football.

Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, seven-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Dwight Freeney

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Vikings, Randle went on to record eight consecutive double-digit sack seasons.

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, five-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: DeMarcus Ware

Haley won two Super Bowls with the 49ers and three more with the Cowboys, becoming the first player to win five Super Bowls (Tom Brady has since won six Super Bowls).

Teams: Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles 

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl champion

Also considered: Greg Lloyd

Dent's dominant performance in Super Bowl XX earned him game MVP honors.

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Career accolades: Pro Football Hall of Famer, 1992 NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Clyde Simmons

Kennedy earned defensive player of the year honors while on a Seahawks team that won four games in 1992.

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Cornelius Bennett, Simeon Rice, La'Roi Glover

Bryant won the Super Bowl in his rookie season and went on to become one of the NFL's top defensive linemen.

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Career accolades: Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler

Also considered: Jessie Armstead 

Mathis is the NFL's all-time career leader in forced fumbles.

Team: Houston Texans

Career accolades: Three-time NFL defensive player of the year

Also considered: Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor

Watt and Lawrence Taylor are the only three-time winners of the NFL's top defensive honor.

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