Athletes You'd Want as Your Bodyguard

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2012

Athletes You'd Want as Your Bodyguard

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    A bodyguard's job description is pretty straightforward—protect your client from outside threats like assault, kidnapping or assassination at all costs. The world's most elite bodyguards provide security for our most important political leaders, public figures and celebrities. Sometimes they succeed at their job, sacrificing their own lives or bodies to do so, but sometimes they fail miserably.

    Professional athletes, with their requisite physical prowess and mental toughness, seem the ideal fit for an elite security detail. Not that any pro athlete is looking for an offseason job to make ends meet (like they did back in the day), but with more and more of our on-field heroes ending up penniless in retirement despite earning millions during the course of their playing careers, a life after sports as a bodyguard isn't too far from reality.

    Here is Bleacher Report's list of athletes you'd want as your bodyguard, starting with two honorable mentions that are probably a bit past their prime to be running a security detail.

Honorable Mention: Nolan Ryan

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    The Ryan Express is nearly 65 years old and those years are starting to show, but back in his heyday, there was no tougher ballplayer in Major League Baseball.

    Raised south of Houston in Alvin, Texas as the youngest of six children, Ryan pitched 27 seasons in a big league uniform with the Mets, Angels, Astros and Rangers, striking out a record 5,714 batters and tossing an unthinkable seven no-hitters. But the moment that demonstrates his toughness best happened in a 1993 game between Ryan's Rangers and the Chicago White Sox.

    ChiSox third baseman Robin Ventura took exception to a Ryan fastball in the ribs and charged the mound (but not before giving it a good bit of thought). What ensued is now etched in baseball lore. The 26-year-old Ventura appeared to have last-second thoughts as he approached the mound and grabbed Ryan around the waist, letting the 46-year-old future Hall of Famer put him in a headlock and connect on several punches.

    After watching Ryan completely handle a man 20 years his junior, it's easy to imagine him 95 years old and keeping people in line like he did on the mound at old Arlington Stadium that day. Although, by then he'll be smacking people with his cane instead of delivering uppercuts.

Honorable Mention: Jack Lambert

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    That's a face only a mother (and the entire population of Steeler Nation) could love.

    Jack Lambert was one of the key cogs in the Pittsburgh Steelers' famed Steel Curtain defense during their run of four Super Bowl wins in six years during the late '70s, and he's widely regarded as one of the meanest dudes on the planet.

    Beyond regularly delivering devastating hits, Lambert helped define his team's persona. His defining moment may have come in the third quarter of Super Bowl X against the Cowboys, when Dallas safety Cliff Harris mockingly patted Pittsburgh placekicker Roy Gerela on the head after Gerela missed his second field goal of the game, which, at the time, Dallas led 10-7. Lambert intervened, throwing Harris to the ground, letting his foe know that the Steelers were not to be intimidated.

    No. 58 played out of his mind that day, and the Steelers took their second straight Super Bowl, and first of two against Dallas.

    Unsurprisingly, the notoriously hard-working Lambert didn't stop when he retired from football, serving as a game warden in Pennsylvania for years before settling in a more comfortable retirement, much of which is apparently spent riding his Harley-Davidson.

10. Mike Tyson

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    He may be 45 years old, but Mike Tyson is just the right combination of calm and crazy to step into a career as a bodyguard.

    That is, Tyson can be disarmingly soft-spoken and serene at first blush—so much so that he quietly tends to a flock of pigeons atop his Brooklyn rooftop—traits that would allow him to navigate the paparazzi minefield. But if a physical altercation is necessary, who better than a dude who not only still packs an enormous punch, but who also has no qualms about biting off someone's ear (or ears) if the situation calls for it?

    Not to mention, he already has experience battling the paparazzi.

9. Ray Lewis

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    Still one of the NFL's most feared players despite turning 37 before the 2012 season, Ray Lewis has the capacity to be ruthless on the field...and off.

    Since he arrived from the University of Miami in 1996, Lewis has been the centerpiece of a Ravens' defense that consistently torments opponents, ranking among the top 10 in overall defense 11 out of his 16 seasons with the team. A brutal hitter, he registered 3.5 tackles and broke up three passes (tipping one more), taking home the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, which the Ravens won 34-7 over the New York Giants.

    While Lewis is primarily known for his legendary pursuits in uniform, it's impossible to ignore his involvement in a less-than-savory incident following Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta, where he was allegedly involved an altercation that resulted in the deaths of two men. Although murder charges were eventually dropped in exchange for Lewis pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, he settled with the families of the victims for "roughly $2 million" in 2004.

    Although by all accounts Lewis is a reformed man, his combination of toughness and street smarts would make him the ideal candidate to be an effective bodyguard.

8. Steve MacIntyre

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    At 6'6" and 265 pounds, Steve MacIntyre is an imposing figure. But not only does this journeyman specialize in intimidation through sheer size, he also packs a vicious punch and is known as one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL, AHL, WHL, ECHL or wherever else you may fight him lacing up his skates.

    Although he hasn't spent a full season in the NHL yet, he has left an enormous impression when given the opportunity. In 21 career fights at the top level, he's racked up a 15-3-3 record, delivering several knockout punches along the way. He is continuing his exploits this season while bouncing back and forth between the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, notching three victories in three chances while with the minor league club.

    No fight better sums up MacIntyre's sheer power than his brief battle with Raitis Ivanans while playing with the Edmonton Oilers, and no other fight displays his ability to inflict a brutal beating than his tussle with Brad Staubitz last year. When provoked, the guy doesn't mess around and doesn't hesitate to protect his teammates.

7. Anderson Silva

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    Although he only weighs in at 184 pounds, Anderson "The Spider" Silva is widely regarded as one of the best MMA fighters in the history of the sport, and the Brazilian was called "the greatest mixed martial artist ever" by UFC president Dana White.

    With a career record of 31-4, Silva is a master of Muay Thai striking, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tae kwon do and judo, and he has a yellow rope an capoeira. Needless to say, as a bodyguard he would be able to put an end to any threat presented to a client—any threat whatsoever.

    And if that's not enough evidence for you, these should do the trick:

    Exhibit A
    Exhibit B
    Exhibit C
    Exhibit D
    Exhibit E

6. Logan Mankins

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    Along with tackle Matt Light, Logan Mankins anchors the left side of the New England Patriots' offensive line, protecting all-world quarterback Tom Brady and the team's vaunted passing attack. He has started nearly every game since he was drafted by the Pats in 2005 out of Fresno State (where he protected David Carr) and joined the then-two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

    Mankins is a terrifyingly imposing figure at 6'4" and 310 pounds, and his dizzying array of badass facial hair only adds to his enormous presence. Mankins moves NFL defenders with the mere swat of a hand, allowing only 21 sacks during his career and regularly embarrassing opponents with astonishing pancake blocks. He's so good that in 2010, despite missing seven games to injury, he was named First Team All-Pro.

    The man who drew a handlebar moustache on his helmet's Flying Elvis for Super Bowl XLVI could no doubt provide very ample security for a client in need.

5. Carl Nicks

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    When you stand 6'5", weigh 343 pounds and are able to run the 40-yard dash in little more than five seconds, there's very few potential attackers or paparazzi that could pose a problem for you.

    This is exactly why the New Orleans Saints will likely shell out big bucks to keep left tackle Carl Nicks this offseason, so that Drew Brees can take a run at his own record for passing yards in a single season, set just this past year.

4. Chuck Liddell

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    Likely the most famous mixed martial artist ever, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell was a devastating fighter during his Hall of Fame UFC career that ended in 2010.

    Liddell's combination of powerful striking and superior grappling abilities made him a unique fighter among the ranks of the UFC, and he was also a talented defensive fighter, utilizing the sprawl-and-brawl technique and showing a startling ability to counter-strike. His highlight reels are truly something to behold. The fury with which he approached an opponent was mind-boggling and frightening even to the television viewer thousands of miles from the Octagon.

    Although he has been retired for more than a year, Liddell is still one of the toughest guys you'll ever come across, and his signature mohawk and handlebar 'stache add to his aura of invincibility and impenetrability—traits that would serve him well as a bodyguard.

3. Rampage Jackson

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    Quinton "Rampage" Jackson—the first fighter to unify UFC and Pride FC championships—would be an intimidating figure with or without his nasty history in the Octagon and ring.

    Rocking an enormous chain-link necklace when making his entrance, and completely ripped to boot, Jackson is the most ferocious of fighters. His powerbomb is unparalleled, a massive explosion of downward energy—led by the head of his opponent.

    Whether you're simply looking to keep paparazzi at bay, or you need protection against a violent attacker, Rampage would be no slouch as your bodyguard.

2. James Harrison

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    Since he signed with Pittsburgh as an undrafted rookie out of Kent State in 2002, Steelers linebacker James Harrison has compiled an impressive resume in the National Football League. A five-time All-Pro selection and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison is the keystone to the Steelers' revived Steel Curtain of the past decade—a defense that has ranked first or second in team defense five out of the last 10 years.

    Harrison is not only a devastating hitter, he is extremely quick and agile, famously returning an interception 100 yards in the Steelers' victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIII.

    But it is Harrison's ability to deliver brain-rattling hits that has catapulted him into highlight reels over his decade-long career, whether it be in a good light, or a bad light.

    One way or the other, Harrison can knock a player out of his shoes—just the type of physical brutality required to run a security detail.

1. Fedor Emelianenko

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    Past his prime or not, there's no question that Fedor Emelianenko is a monstrous figure that once ruled over Pride FC for four years, racked up a 33-4 lifetime record and rarely left doubt about who was the best man in the ring or the Octagon.

    Not to mention, as a kid who grew up during the end of the Cold War watching movies like Rocky IV and Red Dawn, there's something extra terrifying about this commanding Russian that brings an extra element of intimidation to his persona.

    A six-foot-tall, 230-pound behemoth that is trained to kill? That's intimidating.

    A six-foot-tall, 230-pound behemoth that is trained to kill and who speaks with a Russian accent? That's downright frightening.