Bob Sanders and the 10 Most Injury-Prone Players in NFL History
They're some of the most frustrating players you'll ever watch.
They have amazing talent, and when they're healthy they are impact players that can have a profound impact on the game. They might even be Hall-of-Famers.
But that's always a big question—when they're healthy. The players on this list have had their careers riddled with and even ended because of injuries. Four of them are Hall-of-Famers, and some of the others have had pretty notable careers.
Without further ado, here are 10 of the most injury-prone players in NFL history.
Bennie Joppru, TE
Joppru was an All-American pass-catching tight end out of Michigan who was drafted by the Texans in 2003 to give David Carr a receiving option after the Texans were brutal offensively in their first-ever season.
What resulted was three straight season-ending injuries in his first three seasons—offseasons, that is.
A sports hernia suffered in training camp and minicamp knocked him out in 2003 and 2004, and a torn ACL did in his 2005 season. He finally made it into a game with the Texans in 2006 and bounced around after that.
His career statistics: zero touchdowns, zero yards, zero receptions.
Tony Boselli, OT
In the six years Boselli was in Jacksonville, he was one of the best players in franchise history and a cornerstone of the franchise along with Mark Brunell and the like.
But by the end of his time with the Jaguars, he had started to become worn down with injuries, and as such, the Jags left him unprotected in the 2002 Expansion Draft.
The Texans picked him up, hoping he would anchor the offensive line. But a shoulder injury once again knocked him out of the lineup and eventually out of the game. He retired in 2003, playing only five games in his last two seasons and never playing a game for the Texans.
Bob Sanders, S
How can anyone have an NFL injury-prone list and not include Sanders?
When healthy, he's one of the best safeties in the game. He's a hard hitter who's comparable to Ronnie Lott and a big presence on the Colts' run D.
Unfortunately, including this season, he's played more than six games in a season only twice.
This season, he suffered an injury at Houston in Week 1. He hasn't played a game since, and he was officially put on IR earlier this week.
Steve Young, QB
No surprise that a good portion of players on this list will be quarterbacks, including Young, who was forced to retire after his eighth concussion thanks to a crushing hit by Arizona's Aeneas Williams in a Monday night game in 1999.
Young is a Hall of Famer who had a fabulous career (everyone's seen that touchdown run against Minnesota) as a runner and as a thrower. It was only fitting that he replaced the legendary Joe Montana in San Francisco, a man who had injury problems himself.
Steve McNair, QB
McNair was one of the toughest quarterbacks around in his prime. The Tennessee Titans' all-time leading passer always seemed to play better when he didn't practice because of nagging injury.
He suffered a bruised sternum but still didn't manage to miss that much time. Still, he fought through injuries and shoulder problems to be an NFL MVP in 2003, despite playing in only 14 games that year.
Donovan McNabb, QB
In Week 11 of the 2002 season, McNabb threw four touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals and did so on a broken ankle. McNabb continued on to have a fantastic career but soon took on the reputation of being injury-prone.
He suffered a season-ending groin injury in 2005, tore his ACL in 2006, dealt with a sprained ankle and thumb injury in 2007 and had a broken rib in 2009 before he was traded to Washington.
No one ever questioned his cardiovascular endurance, however.
Ronnie Lott, S
Lott was a linebacker in a safety's body. The man who famously had the tip of his pinky finger amputated after a collision during a game was one of the best defensive backs in NFL history.
But the beating he took delivering crushing hits eventually took a toll on his body. He was riddled with injuries at the end of his career, which eventually cut his career short and forced him to retire in 1995.
Jack Youngblood, DE
One of the toughest players around (and replacing Deacon Jones, he had to be), Youngblood made 201 consecutive starts for the Rams and did it while nursing many injuries.
He played in the 1981 season after a blood clot was removed from underneath his shoulder. But perhaps what many people remember him for was playing in the 1979 playoffs (and eventually Super Bowl XIV) with a broken fibula.
Y.A. Tittle, QB
One of the better quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen, Tittle was one of the old-school guys that always played hurt. He went out and played tough and was never afraid to play with injuries.
He took a beating in his career, none more so when he suffered a cracked sternum and a concussion during the 1964 NFL title game. The picture of him sitting on the bench bloodied is one of the more famous photos in sports history.
Steve Smith, WR
Smith broke his arm twice in the last year, once in the last game at Giants Stadium. But he had a long history of injuries (and at least two teammate fights) before that.
He suffered a concussion in 2008 and before that broke his leg in the first game of the 2004 season. But he's always been willing to play through injuries and put up pretty respectable numbers despite that.
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