10 NFL Players Who Should Enter the Boxing Ring
10 NFL Players Who Should Enter the Boxing Ring
There's a reason they don't allow fighting in the NFL: These are absurdly huge, strong physical athletes going at it, and it's already a dumb idea in hockey.
But if you got some of these man-beasts together in a controlled environment with maybe or maybe not some head gear and a couple referees, and we could see some fairly entertaining matches. After all, there are a wide range of skills that should translate from the field of football to the boxing canvas.
Both sports are violent in their own way, and one ex-NFL player believes football tops boxing in this regard.
"It might sound crazy to some people but for sure I believe boxing is a safer sport than football now," former Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, who started a boxing career after being cut by the Falcons, told Yahoo! Sports. "Football is the only sport that is 100-percent injury prone."
Don't think I'd go that far when it comes to boxing without the head gear, but I will concede there are some comparable elements between the two sports. The following are the 10 NFL players who would make the most intriguing boxers.
10) Rob Gronkowski
I was originally thinking about throwing Tom Brady in here just for fun but then realized that would be a terrible idea; the opposing fighter would lose points just for touching him. Get in his face after a particularly good punch? Fifteen-yard penalty, or whatever is the boxing equivalent.
So The Gronk was my next choice and why not. The 6-6, 265-pound tight end moves astonishingly well for a man of his size and makes even linebackers look small at times.
9) Richard Sherman
Much like how the athleticism of the 1960s and doesn't quite translate over to today — I don't care what anyone says, even in his prime Jim Brown would be shattered in an instant if teleported directly to the field in 2013 — and same goes for trash-talking. Mohammad Ali was great in his time and still pretty good for modern standards, but Sherman would one-up him in the trash-talking department. That is Sherman's championship belt after "U Mad Bro?"
There are probably a number of fans and receivers that probably want to lay one right on the kisser when it comes to this receiver-harrassing Seahawks corner (throw in quarterback harrassing, really anyone on the field). Sherman would be the media cycle's gift to boxing and vice versa.
8) Charles "Peanut" Tillman
"Peanut" Tillman is the greatest fumble-puncher in the game today as evidenced by his four forced fumbles against the Tennessee Titans alone last season, and he's been up to that for a while. Not totally sure if this carries over in the Punching People in the Face department, but it gets him on this list.
The next seven who made the grade each have powerful hands in varying ways, but Tillman's ability to ball that fist up and knock out the pigskin in the midst of a play is one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in sport — any sport I dare say! Plays the biggest role in forming the ethos of this Chicago Bears defense's threat to create turnovers at any moment.
7) Paul Kruger
The way Kruger practically karate-chops his way past offensive tackles on a regular basis is a thing to marvel. Kruger doesn't possess elite edge rushing skills in a number of aspects but has gotten great mileage of his savvy in swiftly handfighting through to the backfield.
If he wants to become an elite edge rusher, Kruger still must prove he can succeed consistently without Terrell Suggs drawing all that attention way from him and do it against the better left tackles — and perhaps he does this in Cleveland. But get him in a boxing ring with those offensive tackles along with refs and scorekeepers, and I could see Kruger winning by decision.
6) Darrelle Revis
Revis wouldn't be Revis without his incredible wing span. However, those long arms only help because he has an incredible knack of anticipating the angles and time to swing at the ball or receiver's arms, and with what amount of force.
Assuming Revis has finally returned to 100 percent and his looking like his old athletic-freak self, I could see the future Hall of Fame corner wearing out someone with the jab while mostly keeping his distance.
5) Steve Smith
Smith has injured the faces of multiple teammates during his time with the Carolina Panthers, so we know he can throw a punch. Let's just use this skill for something other than recklessly punching colleagues.
And he does. The physicality in which this little man — OK, knowing that he can knock my lights out, I will retract that statement — goes up for the football against larger cornerbacks also makes you think he could go toe to toe with almost anyone in his weight class.
Just watch Smith on any screen, particularly if he's furious about something, and the defensive back trying to get in his way will often receive some sort of blow in trying to bring down this incredibly strong (short) dude.
4) Adrian Peterson
So here we have the ultimate physical specimen, qualifying him for almost any list that focuses on an absurd combination of speed and strength. The man runs with violence and recovers like Wolverine.
If you ask William Gay — or if you asked him before Peterson erased him — "All Day" would make a better MMA fighter, especially with the way he drives defensive backs to the ground when they step in his path. It looks almost silly sometimes.
He will do for the boxing ring as well.
3) Anquan Boldin
We all remember that horrific play when Boldin basically had his head caved in by a safety, fracturing his face in the end zone as Kurt Warner and Co. looked visibly disturbed. It's also impossible forget how Boldin return a few weeks later without the slightest sign that he was afraid to run his route through traffic.
We know Boldin's tough, but what makes him an inclusion here is his bear-trap hands. The man hasn't been able to shake a cornerback in three years, but remains so tough to cover because he can rip the ball out of midair and hang on with a defensive back draped all over.
2) JJ Watt
Any interior lineman who can rip up the middle for 20.5 sacks has to be one scary player, and when you look at Bane in that picture above it's confirmed.
Watt turned in arguably the greatest year by a defensive player in recent memory en route to Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012. His ability to throw 300-pound men around with his arms before showing the mobility to terrorize the pocket make this 3-4 defensive end an ideal combination of physical traits for this.
1) Dez Bryant
The first time I saw this, it literally looked like Bryant was looking around for any potential witnesses before he burned D-Hall like Darth Vader. Further viewings make it seem like he was just messing with Hall, but the fear inspired by this explosive 6-2, 220-pounder in that one moment made me realize Bryant would absolutely dominate his weight class. Just ask almost any defensive back tasked with stopping him on a goal-line screen. Just unfair.