12. Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears
Butkus was a take-no-prisoners, hard-hitting linebacker in an era where players never took any snaps off. Playing all nine years of his career—eight of them Pro Bowl seasons—in Chicago, Butkus established himself as an intimidating opponent, leading him to the cover of Sports Illustrated, where he was called “The Most Feared Man in the Game.” NFL.com agreed in 2009, when they named the linebacker the most feared tackler in league history. But that’s not all he was good at: Butkus was unsurpassed at launching punishing hits on players that resulted in turnovers—at the time of his retirement, his 27 fumble recoveries were an NFL record.
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