Consensus Ranking of NFL's Dirtiest Players

Ian KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

Consensus Ranking of NFL's Dirtiest Players

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    The NFL is full of players fans perceive as "dirty."

    But what exactly constitutes a dirty player?

    Is it hitting a defenseless player? Is it trash-talking after games? Or is it just playing with a reckless abandonment, ignoring all of the rules that commissioner Roger Goodell has put into place to enhance player safety?

    No matter what your stance is on dirty play in the NFL, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that the players you are about to see in the following slides are the dirtiest in football.

    We polled the lead writers and lead bloggers of Bleacher Report's NFL coverage, as well as the featured columnists, to get their list of the NFL's dirtiest players.

    There were a few players who only garnered one vote, but the following players all gained multiple votes and are undoubtedly the dirtiest in the NFL. 

3. James Harrison

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    Lead Writers Votes: 9.9%

    Featured Columnists Votes: 7.7%

    Long thought of as one of the true enforcers of the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harrison gained a reputation as an NFL bad boy after a series of helmet-to-helmet hits that landed him a plethora of fines from commissioner Roger Goodell. 

    In fact, between 2010 and 2011, Harrison was fined $125,000 by the league and suspended for one game without pay for his violent hits. 

    Perhaps most notable was his controversial hit in 2011, where he clearly head-hunted and de-cleated Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

    Along with his on-the-field persona, Harrison has earned a violent reputation off of it as well. He appeared in the Men's Journal in August 2011 in an article, "Confessions of an NFL Hitman," with a picture of himself, shirtless and holding two guns. 

    You won't find many players in the league who scare opponents more than James Harrison. 

2. Richie Incognito

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    Lead Writers Votes: 36.3%

    Featured Columnists Votes: 6.7%

    The man with one of the coolest last names in the NFL ranked second in the dirtiest player poll. It's not the first time Incognito has been accused of being one of the NFL's dirtiest players, either. 

    Just this past November, Incognito was dubbed the second dirtiest player in the league by his peers as well. And from what he says, he appears proud of it, calling it a "Badge of Honor" (via NBC Sports).

    And then there's this tweet from Incognito:

    I would like to thank my MOM & DAD for raising an ass kicking machine. #2 Dirtiest Player in NFL twitter.com/68INCOGNITO/st…

    — Richie incognito (@68INCOGNITO) November 8, 2012

    While playing dirty certainly has its advantages for an offensive lineman, he still needs to tread carefully. It's been awhile since he's earned a large fine, but if the reputation keeps up, he may be headed in that direction. Completely speculative, of course. 

1. Ndamukong Suh

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    Lead Writers Votes: 54.5%

    Featured Columnists Votes: 66.7%

    The NFL's king of dirty play is no surprise: Ndamukong Suh. 

    Suh's dirty play has been well documented, from thrashing quarterbacks during sacks, to stomping Evan Dietrich-Smith's arm after a play

    Back in November 2011, Suh was voted the dirtiest player in the league by the players themselves. 

    His most recent incident involves kicking Matt Schaub in the groin. He was fined $30,000 for kicking Schaub, even though he claims it was not intentional.

    This is perhaps the most puzzling part of Suh's dirty play. Seemingly everyone in the world can see that his play is dirty, except Suh himself. He shows very little remorse for his actions and continues to be a repeat offender. 

    When collecting this survey, one featured columnist posed the question, "How do they even let this guy play in the league anymore?" That's a very good question.