Ben Roethlisberger and the 4 Toughest Players in the NFL Today
There is a big difference between hurt and injured in the NFL. Many players in the league will consistently play hurt, while those who are truly injured will simply sit it out.
Some players, though, have the mental fortitude to treat an injury like just another bump or bruise. Other players deal out the punishment so well that they rarely find themselves injured and instead are responsible for other teams' injury reports.
Here are a few players on each side of that equation.
The name Ray Lewis is synonymous with "toughness" in the NFL. Even after all these years, he is still the player that opposing teams least want to see patrolling the middle of the field.
Lewis' ability to deal out punishment and somehow avoid major injury for the majority of his career is nothing short of remarkable.
The ferocity of a collision with Lewis can be likened to a car wreck, and Ray just keeps walking away from all of them.
Romo has been much maligned in half of his games for his self-destructive turnovers, and in the other half he has been praised for the toughness and leadership he has shown.
Regardless of the personal opinions one may have about Romo's ability to be an elite NFL quarterback, it cannot be denied that he is one tough customer.
His cracked rib and punctured lung cause people to shudder just thinking about them. Couple that with the violent collisions that Romo faces on a game-by-game basis and it is easy to see why some players choose to sit the bench with those kinds of injuries.
Still, Romo has popped back up, jogged back onto the field and pulled the jersey on every week, even in the face of the harsh criticism that he faces.
Most NFL running backs spend their days avoiding defensive players, but LeGarrette Blount prefers to run over them. Even though his decision to knockout an overly boisterous Boise State Bronco in college was regrettable, it served notice that Blount was not on the field to be beaten.
Now, as a member of the up-and-coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blount is helping to mold the hard-hitting persona that the Bucs are seeking to develop.
Blount runs angry and tries to deal out as much punishment as he can on his way to the end zone.
Trying to sack Ben Roethlisberger is like trying to run full speed at a vending machine and knock it over.
Still, just because Big Ben takes the shots and pops back up, smiles, scrambles on the next play and burns you for a long TD pass does not mean he is not feeling the pain.
There is no other player that helps to mask a poor offensive line like Roethlisberger. Were he to have a healthy, Pro Bowl-caliber-at-every-position type line in front of him, the Steelers may never lose a game.
As it is, Big Ben goes out every week with a host of aches and pains and plays the same way as he always would.