The 30 Craziest Mo-Fos in NFL History

Sean BeckwithContributor IApril 12, 2011

The 30 Craziest Mo-Fos in NFL History

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    You have to be a little crazy to play football, but just like with rugby and extreme sports, football attracts crazy people. The difference between the two sports is football players get paid more and get more fame or, in this case, infamy.

    I had a hard time ranking the first part of the list. The marginal players are hard to rank because crazy comes in multiple forms. Nobody would argue that Ronnie Lott isn't crazy because he had the tip of his finger CUT OFF to keep playing. On the other hand, Lott is smart and articulate off the field.

    However, Ricky Williams never did anything on the field to make you think he was crazy, but he almost threw away millions of dollars because he didn't want to stop smoking weed.

    So, how do you know when somebody is crazy? Here's a story that might shine some light on the situation:

    When I was growing up my dad was transferred multiple times, and I switched schools often. I attended a small Catholic school and was a top five class clown until third grade. Then I transferred to a large public school and dropped out of the top 50 class clowns. How did I know I wasn't as crazy? I knew I wasn't as crazy because I thought spit wads were horsing around, as opposed to other kids who pulled other student's pants down for fun.

    With some things, you just know.

30. Richie Incognito

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    I first saw Richie play at Nebraska. As a Nebraska fan and native, I loved his physicality, but I absolutely hated his temper. That temper eventually led to his dismissal from the team. (Some of my friends who were at Lincoln during Richie's tenure said he wasn't exactly the best party guest. Apparently, he had no problem slamming any beer in sight, regardless of owner.)

    After Nebraska, he transferred to Oregon where he didn't play a down (shocking). The St. Louis Rams drafted him and he kept up the antics. He almost blew a game because he was flagged for a personal foul during a field goal-winning drive. He also single-handedly corrupted first-round tackle Alex Barron.

    The Rams dumped him and now he's playing for the Miami Dolphins. Good luck.

29. "Mean Joe" Greene

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    Mean Joe wasn't crazy off the field. (As is evident in his famous Coca-Cola commercial.) Mean Joe was absolutely crazy on the field. His size, speed and thirst for big hits led to a Hall of Fame induction in 1987.

28. John Randle

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    This next Hall of Fame defensive lineman was mean, loud and disruptive. His face paint alone put him on the list. Randle and Brett Favre squared off multiple times during Randle's time at Minnesota and gave us this fantastic commercial.

    Side note: PETA predictably protested the commercial.

27. Antonio Cromartie

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    I think the Internet invented SMH (shaking my head) because of Cromartie's appearance on "Hard Knocks." Having multiple kids isn't crazy. (Depending on who you ask.) Having so many kids that you have to think hard about their names is crazy. (Ask anybody.)

26. Jamal Lewis

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    Jamal Lewis was a beast during his prime. Unfortunately he lost some luster when he had to serve four months in prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine.

    Side note: He is a co-owner of an indoor water park. That's more awesome than crazy, but he's still crazy.

25. Warren Sapp

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    If your Twitter hold is QBKILLA then you're guaranteed a spot in this count down. The former "U" star once got into it with a coach (Mike Sherman) and runs his mouth with the same ferocity he used to chase quarterbacks with.

24. John Henderson

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    John Henderson has a trainer slap him as hard as he can to get John ready for a game. Need I say anything else?

23. Lawrence Phillips

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    Anyone remember Lawrence Phillips? I know him all too well. Here's a timeline:

    1. Dragged his girlfriend down the stairs by her hair.

    2. Played sparingly for the St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins before getting released by both.

    3. Played in NFL Europe and won the MVP.

    4. Signed with the 49ers where he missed the block that ended Steve Young's career and got cut.

    5. Tried to run over a couple teenagers with his car after a pick-up football game.

    Side note: He could've been the best running back Nebraska ever produced if he wasn't insane. Go to the :43 sec mark and marvel.

22. Maurice Clarett

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    We should've known Maurice Clarett was crazy when he tried to enter the NFL early. That law is unconstitutional but no one has ever brought it down. (Ask Mike Williams?) When Clarett finally got a shot with the Denver Broncos, he showed up to practice/tryouts and gave us the phrase "get my goose on." (Drinking Grey Goose vodka.) Once out of the NFL, he was arrested and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.

    Side note: Clarett was granted early release and now plays for the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks.

21. Ronnie Lott

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    Ronnie Lott gave his body to the game. He hit hard but also played smart. (Fellow USC safety Taylor Mays should take note.) All those things make it sound like he's not crazy, but he still cut off a piece of his pinky to keep playing.

20. Jack Tatum

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    Jack Tatum played 10 seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Houston Oilers from 1971-1980. He's remembered best for his extremely hard hits. He used to hit receivers high and hard. He paralyzed New England Patriot's wide out Darryl Stingley during a preseason game. (And you want to extend the regular season? Really, Rodger Goodell.) His nickname was "The Assassin."

19. Tank Johnson

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    The authorities raided Tank's house once and found six firearms, including two assault rifles. That's only one of many run-ins with the law. I don't blame anybody but Tank.

18. Chris Henry

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    He was arrested several times before dying tragically during an argument with his girlfriend. No jokes, it's bad karma and bad taste.

17. Pacman Jones

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    This concludes the Cincinnati Bengals portion of the countdown. I'm not surprised Carson Palmer would rather retire than keep playing for the Bengals.

    Side note: Do I really have to run down his track record for you?

    Side note II: That's him making a wrestling cameo.

16. Deacon Jones

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    Deacon Jones, aka The Secretary of Defense, hated quarterbacks the same way Skip Bayless hates LeBron James. He played before the NFL kept track of sacks. His signature move was a "Head Slap" and it's exactly what it sounds like. This clip will make you laugh because Deacon is a character but on the field, he's got those crazy eyes.

15. Travis Henry

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    Travis Henry has more kids (11) with more women (9) than Antonio Cromartie. Also, anytime you get involved with the wrong side of the DEA, you make the list.

14. Kyle Turley

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    Kyle Turley's career was cut short due to injuries but he gave us one of the best moments to ever happen during a football game.

    Side note: Tearing an opponent's helmet off will get you on Youtube.

13. Albert Haynesworth

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    Evidently Albert Haynesworth knows how to get on Youtube.

    Side note: If I were to ask you, what owner will overpay a player who stomped somebody's head? Your answer would have to be Daniel Snyder, right?

12. Ray Lewis

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    Ray Lewis' pregame routine earns him a spot on the countdown, but what he does to people who run their mouth got him this spot.

    Side note: If you're waiting for Ochocinco and T.O. to make an appearance, stop. They've received enough publicity to last 10 lifetimes. Actually, I'm a little mad I just mentioned them.

    Side note II: There's a reason all Ochocinco's and Owens' reality TV shows have flopped. THEY'RE NOT CRAZY, they're just attention hogs. Now I'm mad I mentioned them again.

11. Michael Vick

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    I like the new Michael Vick. He went to jail and he's now realizing his potential as a quarterback. He would be higher, but I feel like jail took the craziness out of him.

    Side note: He once used the alias "Ron Mexico" in a civil court case involving genital herpes.

10. Kevin Greene

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    Watching Kevin Greene coach is almost as fun as watching him play. I think Clay Matthews got his hair from Greene. If you're wondering where that picture is from, Greene did a small stint in the WCW. Top 10 crazy for sure.

9. Plaxico Burress

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    Plaxico Burress is just about done serving a two-year prison sentence for carrying an unregistered firearm. Oh, did I mention he got caught with the gun because he shot himself in the leg? Well I guess you knew that, but you may have forgotten the time he spiked the ball after a catch during his rookie season. (How is that not on Youtube?!)

    Side note: Carrying an illegal firearm when you're making seven figures in the NFL will get you on this list.

    Side note II: Shooting yourself in the leg will get you in the Top 10.

8. Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss may be as crazy as he is good. I think any athlete who went to high school with Jason Williams might have made the list. I think anybody who got kicked out of Florida State is definitely making the list. Getting kicked out of FSU is like getting kicked out of Miami or LSU. (Or Nebraska during the 90s. SMH)

    Side note: I was a huge fan of Sacramento Kings' Jason Williams. ELBOW PASS!

7. Ricky Williams

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    The only thing dumber than carrying an illegal firearm is almost losing your lucrative career, because you want to smoke weed. You can't fail a piss test for illegal firearms, but you can for weed.

    Side note: I'm not surprised Ricky can still play. He didn't ruin his knees. Look at Grant Hill: His ankles were messed up, but his knees rested for seven years. Hill might play until he's 42.

6. Jack Lambert

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    Look at that photo and tell me he doesn't belong here. LOOK AT IT! Tell me he doesn't look like a raving lunatic. Tell me you want to meet him over the middle. Look at that toothless snarl. Tell me he doesn't belong. TELL ME!

    Side note: He was a fearless, undersized linebacker and won four Superbowl titles with the "Steel Curtain."

5. Michael Irvin

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    Michael Irvin showed up to court wearing a full-length Mink coat. That would be like me showing up to a murder trial wearing a Jason mask.

    Side note: A total of three Miami Hurricanes are on the list. I though there would be more.

    Side note II: A total of two Nebraska Cornhuskers are on the list. *Heavy sigh*

4. Nate Newton

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    Newton is another player in the countdown who has since turned his life around. However, he was pulled over with 213 lbs. of marijuana in his van and five weeks later, he was pulled over again with another large amount of marijuana. Only 175 lbs. this time.

    Side note: If you took the total weight of the weed from the two busts, he still outweighed it. (400+ lb. man > 388 lbs. of marijuana) He has since undergone "vertical gastrectomy" and now weighs 220 lbs.

3. Bill Romanowski

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    Bill Romanowski admitted to using steroids. As if we didn't already know he was on steroids when he broke a teammate's face, spit in an opponent's face or snapped a guy's finger in a fumble pile.

T-1. O.J. Simpson and Lawrence Taylor

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    We have a tie at No. 1. I can't pick between O.J. and Lawrence Taylor. If I have to tell you what both of these psychos did, then you've been living under a rock.

    O.J. may or may not have killed his wife.

    O.J. was arrested for stealing some of his memorabilia.

    L.T. made the papers recently for a situation involving an underage prostitute.

    L.T. sent prostitutes to opposing players' hotel rooms the night before games.

    L.T. may or may not have taken bumps of cocaine on the sideline during games.

    L.T. DEFINITELY smoked crack.

T-1: O.J. Simpson and Lawrence Taylor

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    If the glove doesn't fit, then you must acquit.