Art Schlicter & the Top 25 Biggest Disappointments in NFL History

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIFebruary 13, 2011

Art Schlicter & the Top 25 Biggest Disappointments in NFL History

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    The NFL is unique in that it has more players, at more positions than any other sport. What also makes football unique is that when a player is bad, they usually flame out pretty hard. The NFL has some of the most memorable disappointments in sports, at a variety of positions.

    Some of the players on this list simply did not live up to their potential, while the others got in trouble with coaches and the law.

    This list, is of the top 25 biggest disappointments in NFL history...

25. Ricky Williams on the Saints

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    Ricky Williams' tenure on the Saints was not a complete disappointment, but when someone is deemed the greatest of all time, there is a certain amount of hype that is hard to live up to.

    The Saints traded their entire draft to get him, making the ceiling for his expectations insurmountable. Williams did have a successful career, but his time with the Saints was not all it was cracked up to be.

24. Matt Leinart

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 14:  Matt Leinart #9 of the Houston Texans looks on before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 14, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    What makes Leinart so disappointing, is that he fell to the Cardinals at No. 10 (which everyone though was a steal) and had the great Kurt Warner to learn from. Everyone thought he would eventually take the reigns from Warner. Instead, he was beaten out by Warner for the starting job.

    Then, after Warner retired, we all thought, this is now Leinart's team. He lost the quarterback battle to Derek Anderson, who ended up not being able to finish the season he was so bad.

    Leinart is now a free agent, where we will see what team(s) would like to take a risk on the inconsistent southpaw. 

23. Desmond Howard

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    27 Sep 1998:  Wide receiver Desmond Howard #80 of the Oakland Raiders in action during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at the Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. The Raiders defeated the Cowboys 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw  /Allsport
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    Every team thinks their coaching staff and their offensive coordinator can transform guys from talented return men, to talented wide receivers. This will set you up for one thing and one thing only...disappointment.

    The Raiders gave Desmond Howard a four-year, $6 million contract, thinking his talents would translate on the offensive side of the ball. 

    He was back on the Packers one year later.

22. Johnathan Sullivan

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    Drafted sixth overall by the Saints in the 2003 draft, Sullivan's career never got off the ground. He had only 57 tackles and 1.5 sacks in three seasons for the Saints, before being traded and dropped soon after. 

    Since then, he has gotten in trouble with the law, making his potential comeback to the league all but certainly over. 

21. Vernon Gholston

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    Matt leinart
    Matt leinartNFL Photos/Getty Images

    What makes Gholston so frustrating is that when the New York Jets drafted him, you knew he was not going to be good.

    Kiper would not stop raving about his workouts and football potential, while the rest of the analysts (the guys who played football) spoke of his lack of maturity and football knowledge. 

    He has been disappointing, because not even Rex Ryan has been able to turn him into a player. He is only one of two players on the list with an NFL team, but do not be surprised if that changes soon.

20. Adam Archuleta

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    LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 26:  Adam Archuleta #40 of the Washington Redskins looks on during the game against the Carolina Panthers on November 26, 2006 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    The Redskins signed Adam Archuleta to a six-year, $30 million contract. He would go on to start the fewest games, have the fewest tackles and the fewest sacks than any other season in his career.

    He played one year for the Skins, and was then traded to the Bears, where he finished out his career, well short of what he thought it would be. 

19. Joey Harrington

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    MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 6: Joey Harrington #3 of  the Detroit Lions tries to pass in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings on November 6, 2005 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroi
    Elsa/Getty Images

    What makes Harrington an interesting case is that he was disappointing for three different teams. He was fortunate enough to receive 10 or more starts for the Lions, Dolphins and Falcons, throughout his career.

    The third overall pick in the 2002 draft, Harrington only had one season where he threw more touchdowns than interceptions, making him the proverbial bust.

18. Elvis Grbac

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    21 Oct 2001:  Quarterback Elvis Grbac #18 of the Baltimore Ravens moves back to pass the ball during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Ravens 24-14.Mandatory Credit:  Tom Pidgeon /Allsport
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Grbac signed with the Ravens after he won the Super Bowl, taking fan favorite Trent Dilfer's job. Grbac came over from the Kansas City Chiefs, where he threw 50 touchdowns and 29 interceptions over his last two seasons there.

    After getting injured, he never took back his job and subsequently only spent one year in Baltimore. The talented quarterback never played in the NFL after 2001 and will forever be a disappointing Ravens QB.

17. Neil O'Donnell

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    23 Nov 1997:  Quarterback Neil O''Donnell of the New York Jets sits in the pocket during the Jets 23-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings at the Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    After an embarrassing Super Bowl beat down, O'Donnell chose the Jets over the Steelers and signed a five-year, $25 million deal that made him the next Jets franchise quarterback.

    He would last two season with this deal, including one that lasted only six games (he went 0-6). He improved slightly under Parcells but never became the QB the Jets paid so much for.

16. Alex Smith

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 02:    Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game at Candlestick Park on January 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Taken first overall in 2005, Smith has a career 16-24 record including never throwing more than 18 touchdowns in any of his five seasons. 

    What makes him such a disappointment was that year after year, he showed promise but would habitually make costly mistakes and lost his coaches' faith in him, time after time.

15. Blair Thomas

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    7 Oct 1990:  Running back Blair Thomas of the New York Jets moves the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida.  The Dolphins won the game, 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Tim DeFrisco  /Allsport
    Tim DeFrisco/Getty Images

    Blair Thomas is another one of the Penn State products to fall on his face as a pro. He played a few mediocre seasons for the Jets, before leaving the league in 1995. 

    The second overall pick never rushed for more than 728 yards in any season.

    His one shining moment was throwing a 16-yard TD pass in 1991.

14. Dwayne Robertson

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 20:  Defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson #63 of the New York Jets watches the game against the Denver Broncos on November 20, 2005 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.  The Broncos won 27-0.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Image
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Robertson, the fourth overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, is a huge disappointment, but I do not fully blame him. You could tell from the very beginning, he was simply not that talented. He should not have been the fourth overall pick, and for that, I blame the Jets.

    But, when on the field, he constantly looked lost, had little drive and was easily bulled over by opposing offensive lines. The Jets thought they had a gem, but in fact, had a dud.

13. Steve Emtman

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    4 Oct 1992:  Defensive lineman Steve Emtman of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  The Colts won the game, 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran  /Allsport
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Steve Emtman was the first overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft. The defensive lineman only amassed eight sacks in six seasons and left the Colts—the team that drafted him, after three seasons. 

    He never became the player they thought they were getting out of The University of Washington, but hey, they ended up with Manning.

12. Akili Smith

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    3 Oct 1999: Akili Smith #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals passes the ball during a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rams defeated the Bengals 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    I don't know what's worse—his five career touchdown passes or his 3-14 record. The Eagles fans booed when they heard they drafted McNabb because they wanted this guy. 

    He hung around the league for four years and completely failed as an NFL quarterback.

11. Courtney Brown

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    26 Nov 2000:  Courtney Brown #92 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the field during the game against the Baltimore Ravnes at the PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 37-7.Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger  /Allsport
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Brown's numbers are not embarrassing, but what makes him a disappointment is that he and Ti Couch were supposed to be the new faces of the "new Browns."

    His career lasted six seasons, and he accumulated 19.0 sacks during his tenure. 

10. Ki-Jana Carter

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    20 Oct 1996:  Running back Ki-Jana Carter of the Cincinnati Bengals during the Bengals 28-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule/ALLSPORT
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Carter was selected first overall, after a trade up by the Bengals with the Carolina Panthers. He promptly signed a seven-year, $19.2 million deal which included a $7.125 million signing bonus, which at the time was an NFL record contract for a rookie.

    He tore up his knee in his first preseason game and never came back strong enough to make an impact. He is such a disappointing story, because he calls under the category of "what if," based on how successful his college career was.

9. David Boston

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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 30:  Wide receiver David Boston #89 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball around cornerback Eric Warfield #42 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 30, 2003 in San Diego, California. The Chiefs
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    David Boston was not a scrub by any stretch of the imagination. He lead the league in yards in 2001, but upon arrival to San Diego in 2003, after signing a seven-year, $100 million contract, his productivity went down, and his behavioral problems went up.

    He constantly fought with the coach and team management, leading to a trade for a sixth-round pick with the Miami Dolphins the next offseason. 

8. Tim Couch

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    SEATTLE - NOVEMBER 30:  Quarterback Tim Couch #2 of the Cleveland Browns moves back to pass during the game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 30 2003 at Seahawks Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Browns 34-7. (Photo by Otto
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Couch, along with Brown, got the Browns new organization off to a terrible start. He was supposed to be the new leader of their franchise, but instead, went 22-37 for his career, with 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.

    When he wasn't being sacked or fumbling the football, he threw interceptions. The team was not ready for a rookie QB to lead, and it led to an early career exit.

7. Art Schlichter

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    He threw one touchdown for every season he played in the league (three) and never won a game. Most disappointing was his known gambling addition that spiraled out of control and cost him both in his professional and personal lives.

    He applied for and was not allowed back in the NFL, though I don't know if it was because of his gambling or lack of a team that even wanted him.

6. JaMarcus Russell

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-1
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    His three seasons in Oakland cannot be looked at simply through the scope of his number, because people have produced less. 

    His failures came by lack of preparation, lack of desire and most importantly lack of care when he threw an interception or fumbled the ball.

    He became the No. 1 pick by having an incredible National Championship Game, which we cannot necessarily blame him for. But he would continuously quit on his teammates and coaches, making him disappointing for the entire team.

5. The Lions Wide Receivers (Charles Johnson, Mike Williams, Roy Williams)

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    I could no put this at No. 1, but it was tempting.

    You know the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Well, Matt Millen, the Detroit Lions executive from 2001-2008, took that very literally.

    Charles Rogers: Not the worst of the bunch, Rogers had two horrific collarbone breaks that sidelined him for the year. He would then get in trouble, get out of shape and the rest is history.

    Roy Williams: He was very good for the Lions, making the Pro Bowl with 1,310 yards as a receiver. If anything, he should be on this list as a Cowboy.

    Mike Williams: He thought he would go around the system and leave college early...wrong. When eligible, the Lions took ANOTHER receiver in the first round, while needing much help on defense. 

    If anything, this list should be a personal list to Matt Millen, who is the most disappointing executive in NFL history.

4. Albert Haynesworth

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 02:  Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins stands on the sidelines during preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Albert Haynesworth was an All-World defensive tackle. As a member of the Tennessee Titans, Haynesworth anchored a defensive line that lead the Titans to several playoff births and earned him a 7-year, $100 million contract from Daniel Snyder and the Washington Redskins.

    His first season in DC was disappointing, but not entirely bad. With the arrival of Mike Shanahan, the wheels came off the car. Haynesworth and his coach butted heads from day one, causing a media frenzy around the team, while causing an insurmountable distraction.

    It appears as if Haynesworth will be out of Washington this offseason, cutting his tenure short, making him a huge disappointment. 

3. Tony Mandarich

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    24 Sep 1989:  Offensive lineman Tony Mandarich of the Green Bay Packers looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Rams won the game, 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Tony Mandarich was selected with the second overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, and he was huge. He came into camp a week before the season started, losing valuable time with his teammates. 

    He played three steroid-laden seasons with the Packers, with no real success and was cut.

    He joined onto the Colts later on but never had the true impact many thought he would upon entering the league.

2. Brian Bosworth

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    18 Dec 1988: Linebacker Brian Bosworth of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during a game against the Los Angeles Raiders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The Seahawks won the game, 43-37.
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Brian Bosworth was the first pick in the 1987 supplementary draft. He was a beast in college at The University of Oklahoma, but his pro career was much more tame. 

    He played 24 games in three seasons with the Seahawks and was never heard from again. He is most famous for being run over, hard, by Bo Jackson.

1. Ryan Leaf

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DEC 3: Ryan Leaf #16 of the San Diego Chargers reacts to a call during an NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers on December 3, 2000 at QualComm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The 49ers defeated the Chargers 44-17. (Photo by Stephen
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Everyone knows the Ryan Leaf story. Drafted the pick after Peyton Manning, he would have 1/10,000 of the success the MVP and Super Bowl champion would have.

    Leaf had a 4-17 record, and three seasons with two teams was enough for Leaf to be out of the league.