There seems to be a lot of players in the NFL today who are all about flash and style: players who make a lot of noise, flap their gums and do fancy dances after they score. Don't get me wrong, it's very entertaining, but when I go to a football game, I want to see great athletes and great competitors playing football. That’s what I watch the game for, and that’s what these guys do every game: Just turn up and play.
Fletcher doesn’t go showboating or looking for attention, which may well have been part of the reason behind him having to wait until 2009 to make his first Pro Bowl, despite being one of the best middle linebackers in the league, racking up more tackles between 2000 and 2009 than any other player during that period, with 1,244.
Fletcher doesn’t have the size or speed of other players; he just makes plays.
Johnson doesn’t say a whole lot but he makes up for it with what he does on the field for the Houston Texans. With his tremendous physical gifts and great hands, Johnson earns the respect of fans with outstanding and consistent play. Houston would love Johnson to return soon in order to give Matt Leinart an elite target as the Texans press on to the playoffs.
And who didn’t love seeing him deliver a beatdown on Courtland Finnegan?
Troy Polamalu isn’t a vocal player, he says a prayer before every play and off the field he spends his time tending to his garden.
Doesn’t sound like the force you see after the snap does it?
Polamalu is a great football player. He doesn’t just stay in coverage like other great safeties such as Ed Reed, he turns up all over the field, making great instinctive plays which can tip the balance of games. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is just not the same without Troy Polamalu.
Matt Forte is in the last year of his deal, but has he thrown a fit about it and held out until he received his money, a la Chris Johnson? No, Forte has turned up and become the key part in the Chicago Bears offense. He has run all over opposing defenses and can expect a big payday in the offseason. Even a long flight to London couldn’t slow Forte down.
Forte will have to keep carrying the Bears on his back now that Jay Cutler is out injured if they are to make the playoffs.
However, he shies away from the limelight. Rather than attending the NFL Draft in 2007, where the Browns would later select him with the 3rd overall pick, he went on a fishing trip instead.
His consistent Pro Bowl appearances are made more impressive considering the level of competition he so regularly comes up against, facing elite pass rushers in the AFC North such as James Harrison and Terrell Suggs twice a season.
Jahri Evans was a small-school product coming out of college as he did when selected in the fourth round by the Saints in 2006 with the 108th pick. Evans put his head down and grafted, replacing injured starter Jermane Mayberry in training camp, and has never looked back.
His hard work was rewarded in 2009, when the Saints gave him a seven-year deal worth a reported $56.7 million.