14. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
On top of having great hands, Ward wasn’t afraid to go over the middle to make a catch, even when it meant taking punishing hits from defensive backs running at him full speed. Ward played through some nightmare injuries for the Steelers—he didn’t even have an ACL in his left knee during his career after suffering an injury as a child.
Ward is considered to be one of the best blocking wide receivers in the history of the game and there was no player he wasn’t willing to square up with. Case in point: this pancake smash against the hard-hitting safety Ed Reed, who Ward took down despite the Steelers being up 35-7 in this game against the Ravens. Ward once put such a punishing block on Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers that the NFL created a rule nicknamed “The Hines Ward rule” that made blindside blocks illegal.
Sure, Ward was voted as one of the dirtiest players in the NFL during the course of his career, but there’s no doubt about his toughness and grit.
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