Top 25 Biggest Criminals in NFL History

Justin SparksCorrespondent IIIOctober 10, 2011

Top 25 Biggest Criminals in NFL History

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    The NFL has had its fair share of criminals throughout its history. A DUI or domestic violence is common place. These athletes took things to a new level.

    Certain athletes come to mind when you here the word criminal. OJ Simpson and Lawrence Taylor pop up instantly into the conversation when talking about NFL criminals.

    Let's take a look at the guys who have more than earned their way onto this list by exceeding the usual crimes and raising the bar for future players in the league as they sit behind bars.

Leonard Little

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    Leonard Little took getting a DUI to new and reprehensible levels with his multiple offenses. He drove drunk through a red light and crashed into a vehicle, killing a mother of two children.

    He was released from prison and arrested a few years later for drunk driving after he failed three separate field sobriety tests.

Alonzo Spellman

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    Alonzo Spellman figured out the system for getting into this list. He terrorized passengers on a commercial flight, which forced the airline to make an emergency landing.

    Spellman's list of accomplishments include weapon charges, a-typical DUI charges and a stand off with police. He's certainly qualified for the top 25.

Gene Atkins

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    Gene Atkins was arrested for firebombing a former business partner. He would eventually be acquitted (surprise there) from those charges.

    He followed that act up by creating an in-home fortress after he shoved, choked, bit and beat his wife with a remote control. When the cops came to apprehend Atkins, he punched one in the throat.

    After that, law enforcement rushed into the house only to find Atkins wielding four knives. He was taken down with a Taser gun.

Ray Lewis

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    Lewis ultimately got off with obstruction of justice for testifying against two people for the murders of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, but not before he was tried for murder and aggravated assault.

Justin Strzelcyzk

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    Justin Strzelcyzk has one of the more bizarre stories. A New York state trooper described the event stating it "looked like an airplane crash."

    Strzelcyzk tried to outrun the troopers after flipping them off and throwing a beer bottle at them. He drove 15 miles on three tires and a rim after getting the spike strip. He ended up crashing into three vehicles, including a gas tanker.

    The crazy part is that his system showed no signs of drugs or alcohol.

Lawrence Taylor

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    Ah, the cover boy's story is here. The New York Giants Hall of Fame linebacker went from lighting up opponents to lighting up the crack pipe.

    His confessions on "60 Minutes" about spending thousands of dollars on narcotics daily and hiring prostitutes to visit opposing team's hotel rooms would be enough to make this list. Then his more recent crimes secured his spot.

    Lawrence Taylor found himself in a sticky situation after finding out one of his ladies happened to be, well, a 16-year-old girl.

Michael Vick

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    Michael Vick led and hosted a dog fighting ring at his house in Virginia. Vick and his friends killed dogs in an inhumane fashion that has forced dog lovers everywhere to be anti-Vick no matter what his redemption story turns out to be.

    Vick received two years in prison for his crimes, which many believe the sentence was over the top and that the government wanted to make an example out of Vick. No matter what your stance is on the issue, the crimes he committed were heinous and heartless. 

Rae Carruth

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    Rae Carruth makes this list with flying colors. He hired two hit men to conduct the execution-style murder of his pregnant girlfriend, all because she wanted to keep the child.

    You can be assured he did not want to drop the soap in prison. Convicts do not respect guys who beat women or hurt children.

Michael Irvin

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    With all the cocaine he's ingested in his life, Michael Irvin could probably decorate a Christmas tree with fake snow. He was a frequent flyer into the court system during the 1990's.

    Irvin continued to fly high into the new millennium and has received a few more drug charges on his record. Luckily for him, that resume includes a few Super Bowl wins.


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    What hasn’t he done to make this list? Between making it rain at the strip club and abusing drugs and alcohol, he has outlasted his welcome with all his different employers and could find himself outlawed from Vegas.

    If that's even possible.

Todd Marinovich

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    Todd Marinovich was once arrested in a public bathroom with a bent spoon and a syringe. I bet no one would've thought he would be an Oakland Raider after hearing that first sentence.

    Most quarterbacks get a DUI or possibly get in trouble for raising their hand towards their wife. Marinovich took his criminal activities to dark levels. If he asks for a spoon, it's not for eating his bowl of cereal.

Jim Dunaway

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    Jim Dunaway is the unpublicized and relatively unknown OJ Simpson. Dunaway was charged with the murder of his former wife.

    Prior to her death, his wife had won a divorce judgment that gave her more than 800 acres the couple owned, $1,800 a month in alimony and half of Dunaway's NFL pension. Talk about getting the raw end of a deal.

    Dunaway would not be indicted but his kids then sued him in a civil suit and won.

OJ Simpson

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    Ah, speaking of OJ Simpson. You knew this guy would make the list.

    In case driving a white Bronco down the L.A. freeway wasn't enough to make the list, Simpson added to it. How about one of the most publicized trials in American history?

    Yep. That should do it. I'm sure you know the rest of the story.

Tank Johnson

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    This guy has a section titled “Legal Troubles” on his Wikipedia page, and it takes up over 75 percentof the page. Now that's what I call dedication to making this list.

    Terry "Tank" Johnson likes to play with guns, all the time. However, he doesn't particularly like to register them, but he's fine with the idea of leaving them loaded in a house full of children.

    He also likes confronting law enforcement, driving under the influence and employing bodyguards that get murdered. Winner.

Sebastian Janikowski

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    It's not every day a kicker in the NFL makes a ruckus. We had to put "Sea Bass" on the list. 

    He's been arrested for bar fights, drinking and driving, reckless driving, bribing a police officer, evidence tampering and possession of a drug best known as "the date rape drug." I guess it's safe to say the this Polish kicker does not mess around.

Lance Rentzel

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    Lance Rentzel was arrested for exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl in 1970. What makes it worse was that Rentzel was married to one of the sexiest actresses at the time, Joey Heatherton.

    Oh, he also wrote a book on the incident trying to capitalize on his arrest.

Lawrence Phillips

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    Lawrence Phillips hit a woman in the face once for refusing to dance with him. There are too many female violence stories to count with this guy.

    Phillips is currently behind bars for 29 more years, in part, for driving his car into three teens after a dispute arose from a pick-up game of football. His mother must be so proud.

Nate Newton

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    Nate Newton took getting caught with possession to a new level when he got busted in Louisiana with 213 pounds of marijuana. The reason he got pulled over in the first place was for a traffic violation. You would think he'd make sure he didn't roll through a stop sign.

    Six weeks later, Newton got caught with 175 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. My question is, who is the drug lord letting this idiot carry all his inventory?

Barret Robbins

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    Barret Robbins is known as being that guy who went on a bender the night before the Super Bowl and was nowhere to be found. Robbins out did himself the following year when he attacked three police officers who returned the favor by popping him twice in the chest.

    Even after being shot he continued his attack. He later would take a plea bargain for his charges. I see a pattern forming here with athletes and plea charges, or is it just me?

Chris Terry

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    Surprise! Chris Terry was arrested for beating his wife. Like any great criminal, it's not what you did but how you did it.

    Terry slammed her into a wall, head-butted her and stuffed her face into a pillow. If that wasn't enough, their two children witnessed the entire thing.

Mark Gastineau

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    Assault, drug possession and women beating are some of the charges Mark Gastineau has faced. Continuous parole violations earned an 11-month long retreat in Riker's Island prison.

    Mark Gastineau also confessed to being on steroids during his playing days for the New York Jets. After his football career, he got into boxing. He finished with a 15-2 record and was associated with several reports of being involved in fixed fights.

Eugene Robinson

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    On the same day he received the Bart Starr Award from Athletes in Action, Robinson got caught offering an undercover Miami policewoman $40 for oral sex.

    Did we mention the award is given to those showing the utmost standards of moral conduct? Or that the award was given the day before he was to play in the Super Bowl?

Darrell Russell

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    Darrell Russell broke the NFL's substance abuse policy so many times that he got kicked out of the league altogether. His drug of choice? Ecstasy.

    The ecstasy addict was also charged with 25 felonies because of his role that involved video taping a rape. As the trend seems to be, his charges would later be dropped due to the fact prosecutors didn't think a jury would sentence him.

Keno Hills

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    Heroin and weapons charges are his claim to fame in the top 25 NFL criminals of all time. Both seem to be a common crime, but we thought Todd Marinovich would feel lonely being the only heroin addict.

    Even though he could have gotten life in prison, they were later dropped. There's that trend I was talking about.

Richard Collier

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    Collier rounds out the list with one of the more entertaining DUI reports I've ever heard.

    Richard Collier slips into this list not for his DUI, but how he got his DUI. Collier was found passed out behind the wheel at a McDonald’s drive-thru window.

    Even NFL athletes enjoy fast food when they're intoxicated.