Danny Amendola and the 10 Most Fragile Players in the NFL

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2012

Danny Amendola and the 10 Most Fragile Players in the NFL

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    When the St. Louis Rams welcomed the Arizona Cardinals to town on Thursday Night Football, it was a shock to no one that Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola was injured in the process of making a catch that was ultimately deemed incomplete. 

    Injuries have been the story of Amendola's young career, a career that could be filled with many more highlights and even better statistics had he been able to stay healthy. 

    Amendola is not alone in his injury woes that have had a seriously limiting effect on his career. Rather, he is but one of many fragile NFL players who are unable to stay healthy enough to put together a nice career. 

    Let's take a look at the 10 most fragile players in the NFL today. 

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Vick has had quite the tumultuous career on and off the field, but the one constant has been injuries. 

    As a result of Vick's ability and willingness to defeat opposing teams with his feet despite only being 6'0" and 215 pounds, he has been a regular on the injury report for the past 10 seasons. 

    Vick has yet to miss a game this season, but has clearly been hampered by injuries. He has not played a full season since 2006, and that also happens to be the only time he has done so his career. 

    While being one of the most electric players in the NFL is great for fans, it has taken a toll on Vick's body. He's healthy now, but for how long remains to be seen. 

Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Gerald McCoy was in direct competition with the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh for best defensive tackle in their draft class, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle lost by default thanks to injuries. 

    McCoy managed to play a career-high 13 games in 2010 as a rookie, but that is far and away the most he has played to date. 

    Last season, McCoy managed to appear in only six games as he battled a variety of different injuries. 

    In 2012, McCoy has managed to appear in all four games and has had a breakout season. It's early, but McCoy looks like one of the better players at his position. If he can stay healthy, he could end up in the Pro Bowl.

    That's a big if. 

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams

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    Bradford is making a career out of playing while injured or missing games entirely, which is unfortunate because he is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the entire league. 

    While he managed to play in all 16 games as a rookie, he did so while hurt. Bradford missed six games a season ago with ankle issues, and the St. Louis Rams suffered as a result. 

    Bradford has everything it takes to be a top quarterback in the NFL, or the Rams would not have taken him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, but as of now, it has been an inconsistent career at best. 

    If history is a good indicator, Bradford will be on the shelf once again at some point during the 2012 season. 

Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns

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    Montario Hardesty has yet to see any significant action in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns thanks to numerous injuries, and may never with the team now that the Browns selected Trent Richardson in the draft. 

    Hardesty serious issues such as a torn ACL and a torn calf, injuries that can destroy the career of a running back relatively quickly. 

    While Hardesty's career is far from over, it may have been prematurely ended with the Browns thanks to injuries. Had he been on the field, Richardson may be wearing a different jersey right now, and we could be clamoring over Hardesty. 

Eric Wood, C, Buffalo Bills

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    Eric Wood is not exactly a household name outside of Buffalo, but he would be if he were able to stay on the field more consistently. 

    Wood has everything it takes to be one of the better offensive linemen in the NFL, but he has yet to play a full season in four years with the Bills

    While Wood has had some freak accidents like a nasty leg break, he has also dealt with other major issues like a torn ACL. 

    Whether or not Wood will be able to overcome these massive issues is hard to say, but NFL fans better pray he can or they are missing out on an outstanding talent. 

Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers

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    Ryan Mathews is another running back who has yet to play a full 16 game season thanks to injuries. The San Diego feature back broke his collarbone in his first carry of the preseason and has yet to contribute significantly this season. 

    Mathews is oozing with talent but cannot stay healthy. He played in 12 and 14 games in 2010 and 2011, respectively, but did so injured and only as part of a rotation. 

    He has been benched in favor of backup Jackie Battle due to injuries and looks timid while running the ball. 

    Mathews is just another example of the wear and tear a running back can endure and how quickly it can derail a career. 

Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Troy Polamalu is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, which is astounding to say considering how many games he has missed due to injury. 

    Since 2006, Polamalu has missed 24 regular season games, a ridiculous statistic when taking into account the amazing numbers he has posted and the impact he has had on every single game he has played. 

    To date, Polamalu has 462 tackles and 29 interceptions while being one of the most feared defenders to grace a football field. Add in 24 missed games, and his numbers skyrocket.

    Polamalu has only appeared in one game this season, and we could be very close to witnessing a premature end to one of the all-time great's careers thanks to injury. 

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

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    Darren McFadden could easily be the best running back in the entire NFL if he could just manage to stay healthy, but he has yet to play in a full 16-game season in five years. 

    McFadden is one of the most entertaining runners to watch, but it is also the reason he is constantly hurt. On every carry, he seeks out contact, looking to abuse defenders while running the ball, but subsequently the beating he takes always contributes to nagging injuries adding up. 

    So far McFadden has missed 19 career games, a jaw-dropping number when you then start to think about the numbers he would have posted and the games the Oakland Raiders probably could have won had he been healthy. 

    McFadden is healthy right now, but for how long?

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

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    Matthew Stafford proved last season that he is a top-five quarterback.

    The issue with last season? It was the first time Stafford had appeared in more than 10 games in four seasons. 

    In those 16 games, Stafford threw for 5,038 yards and 16 touchdowns, all obviously career-highs. He was exceptional in every way, but most fans couldn't help but wonder how long it would last before he went down with an injury. 

    Stafford only played 10 games in his rookie season and followed that up by only appearing in three games during his sophomore campaign. 

    In 2012, Stafford has appeared in every game, but has been battling minor issues already and is clearly not the player he was a year ago. Enjoy Stafford while you can, because he could be on the bench sooner rather than later. 

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams

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    Amendola was injured against the Arizona Cardinals on a play that ended up not counting. He appeared to land on the football awkwardly in the process of making a catch, and it resulted in him hurting his shoulder. 

    According to ProFootballTalk on Twitter, Amendola broke his collarbone:

     

    Rams WR Danny Amendola has broken collarbone, per team source.

    — ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 5, 2012

     

    The injury was just the latest in a string of issues that have plagued the receiver throughout his young four-year career. 

    In four years, Amendola has played a full 16 games once—in 2010, to be exact—where he caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns. 

    Amendola was having a breakout season in 2012 before his injury. In four games, he had caught 31 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns while clearly being the No. 1 target of the offense.  

    While still young, Amendola's career has come to a screeching halt yet again.