Top 25 Dirtiest NFL Players of 2010

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer INovember 17, 2010

Top 25 Dirtiest NFL Players of 2010

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens in action against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    With all the helmet-to-helmet hit talk going around the league lately, the debate over who is a "dirty" player has resurfaced.

    Even the definition of a "dirty" player can be interpreted several ways, but the guys on this list are the ones who usually come up in the conversation. They have been fined for illegal or dirty hits or have proudly worn the badge of a dirty player under the guise of being a "tough player."

    Yes, Steelers fans, some of your guys are on this list, and you're just going to have to deal with it because everyone outside the city of Pittsburgh has agreed your team has a bunch of dirty players. If you don't like it, move on, it's just that easy.

    Starting from the bottom, here's a list of 25 players who've shown up on various "dirty player" lists.

25. Chuck Cecil

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    NASHVILLE, TN - 2009:  Chuck Cecil of the Tennessee Titans poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    The only coach on the list, Chuck Cecil earns his spot here because of his reputation when he played and his recent fine for flipping the bird on the sidelines for Tennessee.

    Cecil made the cover of Sports Illustrated for his vicious hits and he eventually had to retire because he sustained too many concussions.

    On Oct. 3 of this year, Cecil got hit with a $40,000 fine for giving the officials the middle finger, which was caught on the live broadcast.

24. Brian Dawkins

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29:  Brian Dawkins of the Denver Broncostalks to the media prior to the start of a team training session at The Brit Oval on October 29, 2010 in London, England. The Denver Broncos will play the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Sta
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Brian Dawkins was highlighted in the 2009 Sports Illustrated "Dirtiest Players" piece as one of the top 15 dirtiest players in the league, as voted on by 296 NFL players.

    Dawkins is known to lead with his helmet and take shots after the play ends. He's rarely been flagged for helmet-to-helmet hits, which keeps him low on this list.

23. Bart Scott

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 27:  Bart Scott #57 of the New York Jets in action against the Washington Redskins  during their preseason game on August 27, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Image
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Bart Scott enters the list for his hit on Reggie Bush's ankle that took him out of the game and started Scott's reputation as a "dirty player."

    Scott said he doesn't like the label, but with the recent feud between himself and the Lions, it's all coming up again.

22. T.J. Ward

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 24:  Marques Colston #12 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by T.J. Ward #43 of the Cleveland Browns at the Louisiana Superdome on October 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    T.J. Ward entered the league this year and made an impression almost immediately after destroying Bengals receiver Jordan Shipley on Oct. 3.

    Whether he continues this type of hitting remains to be seen, but he certainly didn't start the year off on the right foot with the NFL, receiving a $15,000 fine for the hit.

21. Ryan Clark

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    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 17:  Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tries to escape the tackle of Evan Moore #89 of the Cleveland Browns after a first quarter interception on October 17, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Our first Pittsburgh Steeler on the list, Ryan Clark made a name for himself by blowing up Wes Welker in 2008.

    The Steelers defense is known for its hard play and this will not be the last time this unit makes this list.

20. Manny Lawson

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Manny Lawson #99 of San Francisco 49ers celebrates as he sacks Kyle Orton #8 of Denver Broncos during the NFL International Series match between Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on October 31, 2010 i
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Manny Lawson gets on this list for the $12,500 fine he incurred for leading with the helmet against Kyle Orton a few weeks ago, as well as a hit from last year that drew a fine.

19. Chris Clemons

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 14:  Receiver Randy Moss #84 of the Tennessee Titans is hit by Chris Clemons of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Chris Clemons, seen here taking Randy Moss apart, was fined by the NFL on three different occasions for roughing the passer.

18. Chike Okeafor

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    GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 01:  Defensive end Chike Okeafor #56 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals 34-
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Chike Okeafor gets on the list for his roughing-the-passer penalties in his career, at least eight of which could be backed up.

    Okeafor currently is a free agent and not on any team, but he has not announced his retirement.

17. Darnell Dockett

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03:  Defensive tackle Darnell Dockettl #90 of the Arizona Cardinals on the field against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 41-10.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Ima
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Darnell Dockett also got a lot of votes in the Sports Illustrated poll. He took some heat for a play on Matt Hasselbeck last year, pushing his elbow into Hasselbeck's throat after a sack.

16. Jason Babin

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 03:  Jason Babin #93 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates after sacking quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos during the first half at LP Field on October 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Im
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Jason Babin has been fined a total of $35,000 this season for hits deemed illegal by the league, most recently for trying to take Phillip Rivers out at the knee.

    Babin plays for Chuck Cecil and the Titans defense had been fined $99,500 through the first half of the season.

15. Shawne Merriman

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    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Shawne Merriman #55 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the field during warmups prior to play against the Chicago Bears at Rogers Centre on November 7, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. Chicago won 22-19. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Shawne Merriman has had a reputation for brutal hits since high school. He was suspended by the NFL for alleged steroid use.

    Merriman has had injury problems the last few years, but the Bills hope he can bring the big hits without the big fines to Buffalo.

14. Troy Polamalu

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Jeremy Shockey #88 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
    Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

    Troy Polamalu is known for his hair as much as his hits. But he was called out for a dirty hit as far back as his college days, against Kansas State punt returner Aaron Lockett.

    Polamalu ended up on the Sports Illustrated list and the feeling is it's his "missile" style of hitting that earned him a spot there.

    Polamalu also has been very vocal about the new helmet-to-helmet hit enforcement policy, which is something he shouldn't have to worry about if he plays as clean as he (and many others) think he does.

13. Richie Incognito

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 3:  Richie Incognito #62 of the Buffalo Bills lines up in position against the Indianapolis Colts during their NFL game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the Colts 30-7. (Ph
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Incognito also appeared in the SI poll and was fined $35,000 for three separate incidents in the same game in 2008. He has received numerous personal foul penalties and an argument with Steve Spagnuolo resulted in his release from the Rams last year.

    He finished the year with the Buffalo Bills and now plays for the Miami Dolphins, but not before receiving another $50,000 fine for a headbutt of two Tennessee Titans players.

12. Joey Porter

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  Joey Porter #55 of the Arizona Cardinals waits at the line of scrimmage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Joey Porter gained a huge reputation for being a dirty player around the league. He's certainly been in his share of confrontations. Porter defends himself by pointing out the lack of fines from his paychecks for illegal hits.

    Whatever the reason, both coaches and players believe Porter is a dirty player and there's not much that can be done about it now.

11. Harvey Dahl

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Harvey Dahl #73 of the Atlanta Falcons in action against  the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Harvey Dahl is a guy who opponents admittedly don't like to line up against, and he has been fined by the league several times for "pushing the limits," as Dahl put it.

    Dahl admits to "pushing the whistle" with his play, but his aggressive style has been appreciated by the Atlanta fans and running back Michael Turner, who benefits from the holes Dahl's aggression opens.

10. Cortland Finnegan

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants misses a touchdown pass being guarded by Cortland Finnegan #31 during a game against the Tennessee Titans at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Cortland Finnegan, unlike some of the people on this list, said he aspires to be considered one of the NFL's dirtiest players.

    He said being included on Sports Illustrated's list was an honor and wished he could be No. 1.

    He doesn't deserve No. 1 honors, but he is known for playing hard and throwing out some good hits that might leave other players thinking twice about trying to get past him.

9. Jared Allen

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 14: Frank Omiyale #68 of the Chicago Bears grabs Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 27-13. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Jared Allen will disagree but he's been labelled one of the NFL's dirtiest players on numerous occasions.

    One of his more famous hits was an alleged cheap shot on Matt Schaub's knee in 2008 that sidelined Schaub for a few games.

8. Alex Barron

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    LANDOVER - SEPTEMBER 12:  Alex Barron #71 of the Dallas Cowboys defends during the NFL season opener against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins defeated the Cowboys 13-7. (Photo by Larry French/
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Alex Barron recently got taken apart on the NFL Network by Mike Mayock for lousy technique and bad play that Mayock specifically blamed for losing games for the Cowboys.

    Plus, Barron has been flagged 78 times coming into the 2010 season.

    And people wonder why the Cowboys aren't very good.

7. Ray Lewis

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bills 37-34. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Im
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Ray Lewis is one of the most controversial players in the history of the NFL. His aggressive play on the Ravens defense has made him one of the most feared players in the league over the last decade.

    His hit on Chad Ochocinco and a subsequent kick to another player last year cost him $25,000.

6. Roy Williams

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Roy L. Williams #31 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Roy Williams is another entry on the Sports Illustrated list to make our list. He was suspended for one game for repeated violations of the horse-collar tackle rule.

    His tendency to make horse-collar tackles has given him the dirty-player label.

5. Adrian Wilson

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes against Adrian Wilson #24 of the Arizona Cardinals at Georgia Dome on September 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Adrian Wilson received 17 personal foul penalties between 2001 and 2008, so that assures him a place on this list.

    Cardinals fans will note that he was the league leader in sacks for a defensive back in 2005, so it wasn't like his aggressive play wasn't paying off.

4. Brandon Meriweather

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    PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 14:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops the ball in the endzone under pressure from Brandon Meriweather #31 and Kyle Arrington #27 of the New England Patriots on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylv
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Brandon Meriweather was singled out by Roger Goodell a few weeks ago, when the new helmet-to-helmet hit enforcement policy got new life, with a large fine.

    Meriweather always plays tough and his hit on Todd Heap will be attached to his resume for the rest of his career.

3. Hines Ward

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    PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 14:  Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off of the field with help from the training staff after injuring himself during the game against the New England Patriots on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsy
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Seen here staggering off the field after getting a little taste of his own medicine, Hines Ward is infamous throughout the league as being a cheap-shot artist who has taken more than one player out of the game.

    While Steelers fans will defend the guy to the ends of the Earth, the facts are that Ward always has taken vicious shots at guys in questionable situations, is known for making crack-back blocks, and his jaw-breaking tackle of Keith Rivers resulted in a rule change.

    Steelers fans will cry and moan that many of these hits didn't draw flags. I will point out that the league called the refs on the carpet this year for not throwing flags for hits like the ones Ward and other players on this list made.

2. 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

    While Haynesworth has been quiet so far this year, he is known to kick a guy when he's down—just ask Andre Gurode.

    Haynesworth is known to take a shot here and there that he shouldn't, and his bad attitude on and off the field has put him on most "problem player" lists over the last few years.

1. James Harrison

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 31:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is seen on the field during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints won 20-10 over the Steelers.  (P
    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    James Harrison tops this list for several reasons. He regularly takes players out of games with helmet-to-helmet hits, brags about it and then cries to anyone who will listen when the league fines him for it later.

    The phrase "don't lead with your helmet" is lost on Harrison, who claims he's confused about how to play the game, which is complete baloney.

    If Harrison wants to lead with his helmet, that's fine. He just needs to stop crying about it when the league takes another $50,000 out of his paycheck.


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