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Eight Old School NFL Players Who Make Today's Athletes Look Like Pansies

by TheJeffKelly   September 11, 2009 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 1,624

Football is a hard-nosed sport, and people are bound to get injured now and then.  Of course, even in a sport of tough guys, for every Brett Favre playing through injuries and old age, you have some kicker who injures himself celebrating a chip shot field goal. Back in the day of course, when the men were men and so were the women, football players didn’t let little things like “broken bones” or “giant bloody lacerations” get in the way of going out on the gridiron and stomping ass.

Source: Tony Tomsic/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

8. Ronnie Lott


Source: George Gojkovich/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

In the 1980s, there were few (if any) defensive backs as feared as San Francisco’s Ronnie Lott.  He not only garnered his tough guy reputation for his bone-crushing hits, but his apparent disdain for small appendages – even his own.  In the final game of the 1985 season, Lott was part of a tremendous collision that left his left pinky brutally shattered and mangled.

So obviously, the next week he just taped it up and played in the NFC Playoffs.  And after the season was over, he faced a decision: have surgery on his finger and miss a little playing time to start the next year, or just chop the sucker off.  Naturally, he chose option B and made the Pro Bowl with his newly deformed hand.  And here I am thinking about how hard it is to type with a paper cut.

7. Jim Otto


Source: Tony Tomsic/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

If you’re reading this you’re probably too young to remember Jim Otto, but back in the day the offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders was the kind of guy who wouldn’t let a whole lot stand in his way of stomping ass on Sunday.  He played in 217 games in his career, and being undersized for an offensive lineman, he took just about as much punishment as he doled out.

Otto had nearly 40 (yes, forty) surgeries during his career, 28 of which were on his knees alone.  Since his retirement, he had to have both of his knees replaced.  And in 2007, further proving to be one of the toughest SOBs ever to set foot on the football field, when faced with losing a leg or his life, he went with the leg.  In its place?  A prosthetic leg decorated with his old Oakland Raiders colors and jersey number.

6. Walt Garrison


Source: Tony Tomsic/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

It was only fitting that Walt Garrison, a native of Denton, Texas, ended up playing for the Cowboys.  Why?  Well, because he was a bullriding, tobacco chewing, bona fide cowboy in every sense of the word.  In fact, his career was ended when he suffered a severe knee injury trying to bring a steer to the ground.  Let’s see Peyton Manning try that.

But it wasn’t just his off field toughness that qualifies him for this list.  Garrison regularly played through injury, including rushing for over 100 yards after having been carried off the field with broken ribs during a 1970 playoff game.  He also reportedly cut his thumb so severely that it was literally dangling off of his hand.  So, what did he do?  Taped it up and rushed for 100 yards the next day.  Think about that when your thumb gets sore from playing Madden this fall.

5. Jack Youngblood


Source: George Rose/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Jack Youngblood, who boasted not just the credentials but also the name of a true badass, played 14 years as one of the baddest defensive ends in the NFL.  On several occasions, he’s been called the John Wayne of Football (which is a little strange, since the Duke was an All-American at USC, but that’s neither here nor there).

But it’s not just being compared to John Wayne or having a cool name that made him a badass.  No, what truly qualifies him for that moniker is the fact that in the 1979 playoffs, Youngblood played three games on a fractured left fibula.  He was also apparently the only person who ever took the Pro Bowl seriously, too, as that same season with his leg still injured, he went and played in the All-Star game anyway.  Of course, it should be noted that was the first year the Pro Bowl was played in Hawaii, so apparently getting "leied" was worth a little extra pain.