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Power Ranking the Best Beards in the NFL

Andrew McCluskeyCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

Power Ranking the Best Beards in the NFL

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    Being a professional football player is one of the manliest things you can have on your man resume.

    You are one of the best athletes in the world, and you put on pads every Sunday to hit and get hit by freak-of-nature athletes for three hours. You risk injury to just about every part of your body, but by the game's end all that matters is whether you won or loss.

    How can you get any manlier than that?

    Well grow an awesome beard, of course.

    The NFL is home to some of the best facial hair in sports. The playoff beard doesn't get as much hype as it does in hockey, but there are still some incredible ones out there.

    Usually hidden under the helmet, the NFL beard tends to go unnoticed. Well, I'm here to change that.

    Here are the top 10 beards in the NFL.

10. Jared Allen

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    I can't say there has been many bright spots for the Minnesota Vikings this year. 

    This is one of the few lists where the Vikings would make the top 10 of anything. Fortunately, they have Jared Allen. 

    Allen made the Pro Bowl again this year and led the NFL in sacks with 22. He was the only player in the league to break 20 sacks this year. He is without a doubt one of the best defensive ends in the league.

    He also happens to rock one of the best beards in the NFL.

    It matches his personality. It is a bit scruffy and all over the place. When he matches it with his trademark mullet, it is a force to be reckoned with. 

    I'm sure the Vikings would rather have a playoff appearance, but at least they are finishing near the top of something this year. 

9. Braylon Edwards

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    While Braylon Edwards no longer has a team to play for, he still has one of the sharpest looking beards in the NFL.

    Edwards was suppose to be a nice addition to a subpar 49ers offense, but he just didn't click like he did with the New York Jets. San Francisco rallied anyways and finished as the number two seed in the NFC.

    Edwards was waived on Dec. 27 and didn't find a team willing to take a shot on him this season.

    On a brighter note for Edwards, he has one of the cleanest looking beards in the league. It is incredibly clean cut and you can tell there is some serious time put in to it. 

    It certainly looks a lot better than his statistics this year. 

8. Ed Reed

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    Ed Reed has been one of the best safeties in football for many years now.

    He has been a cornerstone in the Baltimore Ravens secondary and seems as if he will continue to do so until the day he retires. Reed also has one of the best facial hair setups in football.

    It isn't the prettiest beard or the biggest. However, it is simply Ed Reed's. 

    It has a shaggy "I don't really care" look to it. He actually looks like a man that could be in his mid-40s that picture when in fact he is still only 33 years old. Regardless of his age, Ed Reed is going to be terrorizing quarterbacks until the day he retires.

    He may look like a man that is past his prime, but he is still one of the best ball-hawking safeties in the league.

7. Jeff Saturday

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    Jeff Saturday may not have the flashiest beard in the NFL, but it could be labeled as one of the beards that "saved the season."

    Saturday was a crucial part in the lockout negotiations that took place over the offseason. He was one of the strongest voices for the players and was one of the faces that stood with the owners as the announcement that the lockout had ended took place.

    Saturday's beard has seen it's fair share of important meetings. Without him, who knows how that lockout would have ended. 

    An excellent center and crucial representative for the player's union is a pretty strong resume, but never overlook the power of the beard.

6. Nick Mangold

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    Nick Mangold is the second of three centers to make this list.

    Mangold is rocking the classic caveman beard. He matches it with his long blond hair to make a deadly combination of hair. 

    Unfortunately for Jets' fans, they won't get the chance to see Mangold's beard take the field after their collapse against the Miami Dolphins cost them their shot. Now with reports flooding out about the discontent in the locker room it seems that the Jets may be in for some big changes this offseason.

    Mangold is a fantastic offensive linemen and will surely be in a Jets uniform come the start of the 2012 season.

    Lets just hope he brings that excellent beard with him. 

5. Matt Light

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    Another offensive linemen makes the list. 

    Matt Light is the New England Patriots' stating left tackle and is also the owner of one of the best beards in the game today. Light and his fellow Patriots' linemen are famous for growing out their facial hair.

    His teammate Logan Mankins has what would be a top 10 mustache in the NFL, but unfortunately doesn't have the necessary hair to make the beard list. 

    Light has been the anchor for one of the best offensive lines in football over the past several years. They have done an excellent job of protecting Tom Brady and giving him the chance to put up those MVP-caliber numbers.

    All of that while having one great piece of facial hair.

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    Usually the stereotypical image of the quarterback is a clean-shaven, pretty boy.

    Not Ryan Fitzpartick. The Harvard graduate holds the honor of the best quarterback beard in football. Other quarterbacks like Kyle Orton and Aaron Rodgers have attempted to grow out the beard, but none of them have done it as well as Fitzpatrick.

    He led the Buffalo Bills to an incredibly hot start this year going 5-2 in their first seven games after years of being at the bottom of the AFC East. Then the Bills went back to their traditional ways and lost eight of their last nine. 

    Fitzpatrick earned himself a new contract before the start of the season that will pay him $59 million, with $24 million guaranteed, over the course of six years.

    Apparently that isn't enough money for a razor and some shaving cream, so for now Fitzpatrick will wear his chin hair with pride.

3. Joe Hawley

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    Joe Hawley is number three on my list for best beards in the NFL while holding down the No. 2 spot on at center on the Atlanta Falcon's depth chart.

    There isn't much to say about Joe Hawley. 

    He was taken by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of UNLV. He has started eight games and played in 27 total. Hawley is the back up of veteran offensive linemen Todd McClure. 

    McClure is currently 34 years old so Hawley may get a shot at the starting job within the next few years. 

    Until then, we will just enjoy his glorious beard.

2. Antonio Garay

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    Antonio Garay may not have the most traditional beard in the NFL, but he is certainly unique.

    He currently the starting nose tackle for the San Diego Chargers. Garay also has a passion for funky hair designs and colors. 

    As you can see in the photo, Garay chose to go with a symmetrical line pattern in his beard that extends all the way up in to the side of his hair. It is definitely one of the craziest beards I have ever seen and the most unique in the NFL.

    Garay is a solid player that won't be making many highlight reels, but he will always have the honor of being on this top-10 list.  

1. Brett Keisel

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    Brett Keisel takes the prize for best beard in the NFL.

    Keisel's lumberjack style facial hair is one of the most intimidating in the league. Keisel's beard has become one of the most famous in the NFL, especially with Pittsburgh Steelers' fans.

    It was named "Da Beard" by Keisel and his teammates. It is the only NFL facial hair that has it's own Facebook fan page and it's own Twitter account.

    It has reached a level of fame that other beard's around the NFL envy.

    Keisel claims to have grown the beard because of the lack of characters in the league. With the way his beard's fame has skyrocketed there is no doubt he accomplished his goal.

    He may look like Yukon Cornelius, but I wouldn't want to be the one to tell him that.

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