James Harrison and the 10 Hardest Hitters in the NFL

Sam McIntoshCorrespondent INovember 13, 2010

James Harrison and the 10 Hardest Hitters in the NFL

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    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    The biggest story of the 2010 NFL season has been the controversy surrounding helmet-to-helmet hits.

    (Well, maybe besides the Cowboys' dismal record!)

    Fines from the NFL for illegal hits have been rampant. Most players disagree with the new policy of suspending players for illegal hits, saying most of the helmet-to-helmet contact is unavoidable.

    As fans, we don't feel sorry for millionaires getting fines, but they realistically add up and affect players.

    James Harrison has been fined over $120,000 this year alone.

    Many players have spoken out against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying his decisions have been abrupt and unfair.

    “The amount of money is becoming an issue,” Harrison said. “The fines that they issued to me, two of them weren't even called penalties. I don't even know what to say anymore.”

    The players are sick of being punished financially for doing their jobs as taught to them since Pop Warner.

    This slideshow takes us back to normalcy, where big hits are big entertainment. The following players are the hardest, meanest hitters in the NFL today.

    The list is based on how hard they hit, not how good an overall player they are, although most excel in the NFL. Also, no offensive players will be on the list. Keep a look out for a "Hardest Offensive Hitters" list in the future. 

    Don't forget to scroll down for video highlights.

10. Adrian Wilson

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    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Wilson may surprise folks, but this guy can really bring it. He has an ability to seek out the ball carrier and hone in. He rarely misses a tackle and he hits like a man. Players will avoid trying to sneak underneath Wilson as he can make them pay.

    Wilson is perhaps one of the most consistently hard-hitting players in the NFL. He goes all out on every single play.

     

9. Brian Urlacher

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Although Urlacher has faded in recent years, he is still feared as one of the league's hardest-hitting linebackers. Urlacher has made his career by being versatile, but his big wrap-up hits are what made him famous.

    Along with teammate Lance Briggs, Urlacher and the Bears are a run-stopping force each and every year. Urlacher isn't going to rock a guy the way some of the big hitters will, but he can drive a pile and stop anybody in his tracks. 

    "The hardest I've ever been hit was on a shot by Brian Urlacher of the Bears," said Deuce McAllister, running back.

     

     

8. James Harrison

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    James Harrison has been all over front pages and headlines this season. He has racked up the fines and threatened retirement because of it. Some of these hits may be illegal, but nine times out of 10, Harrison does as good a job as anybody. 

    The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year can do it all. He drops back in coverage, blitzes off the edge and gets down on the line. He can change a game in an instant with his heavy hits and big plays. Harrison was the hero of Super Bowl XLIII with his 100-yard interception returned for a TD. 

    He is on this list because he is comparable to a freight train.   

     

     

7. Roy Williams

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Unfortunately for Roy Williams, hitting hard doesn't necessarily make you a good safety. He has been pretty insignificant in recent years, but Williams can punish the ball carrier. He is tenacious and aggressive and is responsible for some of the biggest hits in the past decade. 

     

6. Bob Sanders

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    As a Texans fan, I know what Bob Sanders is capable of. I also know how frequently he is sidelined due to injury, a factor almost keeping him off the list. However, Sanders hits so hard he makes the cut, and the top six at that. 

    Sanders is a ruthless safety who uses his small, bowling ball-like body to roll over offensive opponents. When he is healthy, he is clearly one of the best out there. 

    "The Hitman" is a punisher!

5. Patrick Willis

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Patrick Willis should have been the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, leading the league in tackles. Like most on this list, he is a freak. Willis is one of the best athletes in the world. He is huge, strong, fast, quick, mean and can go heads up with anybody. 

    I'll let the video say the rest. 

4. Troy Polamalu

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Troy Polamalu is the best all-around defensive player in the NFL right now. He has made a name for himself with ferocious hits and his knack for finding the ball. 

    Polamalu has an unmatched ability to hone in on the ball carrier and make a play. As part of the best defense in the NFL, Polamalu is very well known and has become a fan favorite. 

    Fun fact: Head & Shoulders has a one million dollar insurance policy on Polamalu's hair!

    This isn't a huge hit, but look at the play!! 

3. Sean Taylor (A Tribute)

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Taylor's teammates called him "Meast"—half man, half beast. Whether for the University of Miami or the Redskins, he used to punish opponents with big, ferocious hits.

    Unfortunately, we can no longer see Taylor play. He was tragically shot and killed at his home in 2007.

    Although he isn't a current player, he has to make the list and is worthy of the top three. Perhaps if he were still around, he would be No. 1, as he appeared to be on that track. 

    He was a bad, bad man. Not only did he have the potential to be the best safety in the NFL, but one of the best in history.

    Taylor was a true FREAK.

    The legend lives on...

    (My apologies for the terrible music in the video. It was the best video I could find.)

     

2. Brian Dawkins

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    No need for words.

1. Ray Lewis

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Nobody on this list ranks with the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus except Ray Lewis. He is easily one of the Top 10 all-time.

    The undisputed heavy-hitter of the world, Lewis has easily been the most feared man in the NFL for the past 10 years. This guy is mental. He is crazy. He isn't just a football player, he is a soldier.

    Lewis is regarded as the best linebacker of the modern era. He has built that reputation by instilling fear in opponents. He can crush any player, any size, with his tenacious hits.

    Lewis is a wrestler and a preacher trapped inside a football player's body. He isn't human. He isn't normal. He screams and yells and preaches constantly, but unlike many players of past, HE BACKS IT ALL THE WAY UP!

    And even at 35 years old, he can still do this...

    He's been doing this for 14 years!!!

Missing The Cut

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    EJ HendersonElsa/Getty Images

    Keith Bulluck

    Joey Porter

    Bernard Pollard

    La'Ron Landry

    Julius Peppers

    E.J. Henderson

    Ed Reed

    Darren Sharper