Category Archives: NFL

Mock Draft 2011

This prevents me from comitting suicide because…….Because the draft season is so much better than the regular season

1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton

2. Denver Broncos – Blaine Gabbert

3. Buffalo Bills – Marcell Dareus

4. Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green

5. Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller

6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones

7. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Peterson

8.Tennessee – Nick Fairley

9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith

10. Washington Redskins – Prince Amukamara

11. Houston Texans – Robert Quinn

12. Minnesota Vikings – Jake Locker

13. Detroit Lions – Cameron Jordan

14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget

15. Miami Dolphins – Christian Ponder

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan

17. New England Patriots – JJ Watt

18. San Diego Chargers – Mike Pouncey

19. New York Giants – Mark Ingram

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Adrian Clayborn

21. Kansas City Chiefs – Aldon Smith

22. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Castanzo

23. Philadelphia Eagles – Nate Solder

24. New Orleans Saints – DaQuan Bowers

25. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Mallett

26. Baltimore Ravens – Derek Sherrod

27. Atlanta Falcons – Muhammed Wilkerson

28. New England Patriots – Cameron Hayward

29. Chicago Bears – Marvin Austin

30. New York Jets – Akeem Ayers

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Danny Watkins

32. Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in NFL, Sports


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The Best Players in the NFL – Top 5 MLBs


This is the 4th part of my top 5 rankings for every position in the NFL.
It will culminate in an overall top 10 players in the NFL list.

Previous: Top 5 OLBs –

The Middle Linebacker (MLB) or Inside Linebacker (ILB) is one of the most storied positions in the history of the NFL. Not only was it the main run stopping defensive position in a sport which primarily relied on the run, but it was also the position of the defensive leader on the team. Therefore, some of the most iconic defensive players in NFL history are MLBs such as Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Ray Nitschke. The position has evolved now. The 3-4 defensive means that the position is not as unique as it once was. In today’s game, athletic ability is starting to replace toughness as the defining feature of the position. You will now only be on the field all 3 downs if the MLB can cover proficiently.

On my list, I still primarily looked for players who go downhill and consistently stop the run. After that, leadership, sideline-to-sideline ability and coverage skills were used filter out the next set of players. Even with the evolution of the position, any good MLB must still be a tackling machine. For the last 10 or more years, my no. 2 has dominated any MLB list. He is arguably not far from overtaking (or maybe he already has) Dick Butkus as the greatest MLB of all time. But, last season I saw the first signs of him slowing down a little. He wasn’t the pure machine that he once was. No.1 in this list will dominate this list for at least the next 5-7 years. He is a phenom at the position. The rest of the top 5 is filled with a mixture of defensive leaders, an impact player and an undersized but hugely aggressive and athletic tackling machine.

5. Jonathan Vilma – New Orleans Saints

One of the members of arguably the greatest college team of all-time, Jonathan Vilma is the heart of the Saints defense. He doesn’t blow you away on the field and is undersized at only 230lbs when entering the NFL, however, his impact is greater than any stats can show. He is a very smart player and a good leader. On an otherwise poor Saints defense, his organisation and leadership makes sure that the defense at least plays a successful complementary role to their explosive offense. If you watch the Saints’ 2009/2010 America’s game, it gives you a glimpse into the on-field impact that Vilma makes on the team.


4. Brian Urlacher – Chicago Bears

A highly athletic monster of the midway, Brian Urlacher has continued the Bears’ famous legacy at the position. Along with fellow linebacker Lance Briggs, he has been the core to that consistently stout defense ever since he entered the league in 2000. Before his injury, there were certain people saying that he was overrated. However, his absence showed everyone how much of an impact player he is to the Bears. He led the Bears defense back to 4th overall in terms of points allowed this season. He can play downhill, sideline-to-sideline and he was once arguably the best MLB in coverage in the NFL and he can still cover proficiently. I wish he was used more in the blitz game. Although he is now leaving his prime, he still is a fantastic player on a team that is finally building an offense to match the defense’s long term production.


3. Jon Beason – Carolina Panthers

‘The Beast’ is the centrepiece to the Carolina defense. He is the only true elite player on Carolina’s defense now that Julius Peppers has left town. Like Vilma, he is undersized but he is highly athletic and very aggressive. He is one of the surest tacklers in the league. He was temporarily moved to OLB due to injuries, showing is versatility, but his best position is in the middle. He is superb in coverage. He deserves better players around him especially better DTs up front because he is at his best when he has a free path to the RB because he is one of the few MLBs who can keep up athletically with most running backs in the league. Although, he doesn’t make as many game changing impact plays as I would like to see, it may be due to the lack of talent around him. Although, Carolina will probably pick a QB if they do draft Marcell Dareus, it will give Jon Beason a chance to maximise his considerable abilities.


2. Ray Lewis – Baltimore Ravens

Arguably the best MLB of all time, he is everything you want in a middle linebacker. Athletic ability, intensity, sure tackling, hard-hitting, game-changing plays and one of the best leaders the NFL has ever seen. You cannot just measure his game in stats although they are pretty impressive. He is a 12-time pro-bowl, 7 time first team all-pro selection and this season became only the 2nd player to collect 30 sacks and 30 interceptions in his career. He led possible the greatest defense of all time in the 2000 Ravens and his Ravens did not allow a 100 yard rusher in 51 consecutive games from 1998 through 2001 with Lewis at the helm. Although he is clearly slowing down, his greatness is undisputed and nobody doubts he will be a first ballot hall of famer.

1. Patrick Willis – San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis is the heir apparent to Ray Lewis with just as much talent as Ray had. He is a 245lb machine with 4.4 speed and unbelievable all-round athleticism. He is the best open field tackler in the NFL and has no real weaknesses to his game. But to get to Ray Lewis’ level there are a few things he needs to improve on. He needs to make more impact plays. Ray consistently made plays that not only changed the course of a game but changed the course of the Ravens’ season. Patrick Willis is not there yet. He also needs to become a better leader and makes his whole defense better. The 49ers have an average defense but with Ray at the helm, the Ravens were consistently a top 3 defense largely due to Ray’s ability to make everyone around him better. Patrick must use his on-field reputation to influence the players around him positively. If he does improve on these things, he will go from being a great linebacker to one of the best of all time.

Overrated: Bart Scott –  A loudmouth who is lucky to have been around a fantastic defensive coordinator like Rex Ryan, he doesn’t justify his talk.

Underrated: Paul Posluszny/London Fletcher – An instinctive tackling machine on a team void of much talent. He has thrived in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 when others crumbled. He cannot truly maximise his talents if the talent around him is not upgraded. London Fletcher is the most underrated player of the last decade. He is a fantastic near HOF-worthy MLB with only two pro-bowls in two of his declining years.

One for the Future: Lawrence Timmons – This guy is the whole package. Fast, tough, instinctive and learning from some of the best. He has all the skills to be better than his mentor, James Farrior

GOAT: Dick Butkus/Ray Lewis – Could not choose between the two. Dick Butkus was everything you wanted from an old-school MLB. Ray Lewis is everything you want from a modern MLB.

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in NFL, Sports


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The Best Players in the NFL – Top 5 OLBs

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….I love watching great players with great hair i.e. Troy and Clay.

This is the 3rd part of my top 5 rankings for every position in the NFL.
It will culminate in an overall top 10 players in the NFL list.

Previous: Top 5 CBs –

Many NFL team’s transition towards the 3-4 defense has meant that the OLB position has become the key position for many defenses in the league. Thus, nowadays this position is loaded with talent. Pass rushing ability is obviously important but you need all-round ability to be a cornerstone. I only have one 4-3 OLB on this list. 10 years ago the 3-4:4-3 ratio would have been the other way around with players like Bulluck and Brooks. I have a mixture of players in my top 5: all-rounded players (one with tremendous athletic ability and the other known for his toughness) as well as relentless pass-rushing impact players at 3 and 5. It was difficult to leave off many from this list with Shaun Phillips, Terrell Suggs, Chad Greenway, Elvis Dumervil (although he is going back to the 4-3) and Lamarr Woodley amongst others deserving recognition.

Note: I thought Brian Cushing was one his way to be the best 4-3 OLB in the league before he got caught cheating.

5.  Tamba Hali – Kansas City Chiefs #91

The ‘Tambahawk’ is the least well-rounded player on this list. In fact, he is a pure pass rush specialist. However, I believe he deserves his place. , The only consistent pass-rushing threat on the young Chiefs team, he still manages to continuously disrupt the passing game. He had 14.5 sacks last season (his first double digit sack season) because he finally learnt to finish plays and get the QB on the ground. Armed with a great story of his family escaping war-torn Liberia, he has tremendous upside and expect to hear his name a lot more as he enters his prime.


4. Lance Briggs – Chicago Bears #55

Briggs is the only 4-3 linebacker on this list. He is a just a fantastic player. Fast, instinctive and versatile, his partnership with Brian Urlacher allowed the Bears to consistently have one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL for many years.  Some Bears fans rate him higher than Urlacher. Although he is technically better, as Urlacher’s return from injury last season showed, Urlacher is more of an impact player than Briggs. He looks to still be in tremendous shape as he begins his football life in his 30s.

3. Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers #52

Armed with some of the best nicknames in the NFL, ‘Thor’ or ‘Bloodline’ is one of the future superstars of this league. Instantly recognisable with his hair and playing style, he is a huge-impact, playmaking OLB. His best traits are his speed and relentless. His ridiculous 10 yard split at the combine of 1.49 seconds shows up on the field. To get that into perspective, in that combine, only 9 cornerbacks had a better 10 yard split. He can be inconsistent against the run but his pass rushing skills are extraordinary and his coverage ability his excellent. He is always around the ball and makes game-changing players consistently.  He was one of the cornerstones in the Packers’ Superbowl run and will be the cornerstone of a potential future dynasty.


2. James Harrison – Pittsburgh Steelers #92

Undrafted and apparently undersized, scouts seriously underrated his athletic ability, strength and most of all toughness. He is arguably the toughest player in the NFL and has developed into an all-pro, all-rounded defensive force. At less than 6’0” but 242lbs he plays with great leverage and power and by getting under the shoulder pads many offensive tackles he dominates the line of scrimmage. He is tremendous against both the pass and the run and he is also very good in zone coverage. Since getting the mental part of his game together in the 2007 season, in 4 seasons he has 45 sacks, 2×100 tackle seasons and one 98 tackle season. Although he is now already 30, due to lack of wear and tear he has many more years left to be a dominating force.


1.DeMarcus Ware –  Dallas Cowboys #94

DeMarcus Ware is the best OLB in the league. He is the best pass-rushing OLB as well as the most all-rounded OLB in the NFL. He has already led the league in sacks in 2 seasons. He has prototypical size at 6’4” 262lbs and reminds me so much of Charles Haley in his prime. DeMarcus Ware will be just as good and maybe better than the HOF-worthy former Cowboy. A fantastic athlete, he has 80 sacks in 6 seasons and is consistently strong against the run and the Cowboys have no qualms about leaving him in both man and zone coverage. Although I would like to see him make more game-changing impact players with his ability, he is the prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker that any 3-4 team is looking for.


Overrated: Scott Fujita – Now a member of the Cleveland Browns, even during the superbowl run of 2009/2010 whilst at New Orleans Saints he was an OLB just not athletic enough to be an impact player.

Underrated: Daryl Smith – Vastly underrated on a defense strong against the run. He is a versatile, aggressiveoutside linebacker who consistently disrupts the opponents’ running game.

One For The Future: Cameron Wake – Although he already broke out last season, the athletic freak from the CFL has a lot more to give. Already 29 years old, he has only had 2 seasons in the NFL after crafting his body into a pass-rushing beast. He will get better against the run with more game time. I foresee 5 more years of elite play.

Greatest of All-Time (GOAT): Lawrence Taylor – The original LT is arguably the best defensive player to ever play the game. He changed how offenses were structured and his blend of athletic ability, instincts and relentlessness will be difficult to find for a long time.

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Posted by on April 17, 2011 in NFL, Sports


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The Best Players in the NFL – Top 5 Cornerbacks (CBs)

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….CBs are possibly the most athletic guys on the field

This is the 2nd part of my top 5 rankings for every position in the NFL. It will culminate in an overall top 10 NFL players list.

Cornerbacks are arguably the most athletic players on the field on any given Sunday. They have to defend against the super-athletic wide receivers play after play. Receivers are so athletic these days, a half-second hesitation or even a slight misstep could be the difference between an interception and a touchdown for the offense.

For me there were three truly elite cornerbacks but they all had different strengths. Wide receivers are getting bigger in the Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson mould and cornerbacks have been forced to get stronger too. Strength is one of the qualities the top 3 cornerbacks all share.

After the top 3, it became more difficult. Number 4 is a quality player but criminally underrated. He is young and part of an ascending franchise and I am sure he will get to showcase his talent on the biggest stages soon. Pick number 4 was a difficult one for me. Because the pick lacks phyisicality is run support and is in fact used often used as the prototype of the non-tackling corner. However, turnovers are key in this game and his ball-hawking abilities against the biggest QBs on the biggest stages for  a sustained period of time elevates him into the top 5.

It was difficult leaving players like Tramon Williams, Champ Bailey and  Cortland Finnegan off the list:


5. Asante Samuel – Philadelphia Eagles #22

Samuel struggles badly as a tackler. He isn’t the most naturally gifted cornerback either. Apparently, he only ran a 5.4 40 yard dash until he entered college where he worked hard to reduce his time down to 4.49 for the NFL combine. However, his instincts and ball skills are arguably second to none. He has 36 interceptions in the last 5 seasons, an average of over 7 a season. He also plays well in the biggest games. He already has 7 post-season interceptions, the highest for active players and 5th all-time. Not necessarily known for his returning skills he still has 4 interception returns for touchdowns already an NFL record. He often plays outside of the system as he has great faith in his instincts. He isn’t to the taste of some defensive co-ordinators in the NFL but he few doubt his ability to make game-changing plays.

4. Brandon Flowers – Kansas City Chiefs #24

He is arguably the best player on a rapidly improving, young Chiefs defense. Vastly underrated, he has had two very good seasons and a true breakout 2010 season where he routinely helped frustrated the opposition’s number one receiver. Although only listed at 5’9” 187 lbs, he is one of the most physical corners in the league and is a fantastic tackler in the mould of Antoine Winfield. Nobody may have noticed this play but I started to especially take notice of Flowers when he tackled Panthers’ Steve Smith in the open field in his rookie season, a highly difficult feat. He may not have blazing long-range speed (note Jacoby Ford vs Flowers in the 2010 season) but he is very quick and can still keep up with most speed receivers in the NFL. QBs in the 2010 season often avoided Flowers’ side and this reflects in him only having 2 INTs last season.  He is certainly one whose future is exciting.

3. Charles Woodson – Green Bay Packers #21

The 2009 defensive player of the year was a college phenom and the most versatile corner in the NFL today. He is the cornerback version of Troy Polamalu. He is strong in run support, in the blitz game, a ball-hawk and a dangerous INT returner. He is a fluid, highly talented athlete and he ability to muscle the ball away from receivers mid-air is amazing. He reminds me so much of Rod Woodson and I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves to safety in a few years time just like the other Woodson did. I am glad he got out of the black hole and realised the importance of his job and since he joined the Packers he has become the player everybody expected him to be when he was drafted. In 5 seasons with the Packers he has 30 INTs, 8 Sacks, 13 FFs and 8 TDs. He was one of the keys to the Packers defense in this year’s Superbowl season.

2. Darrelle Revis – New York Jets #24

Forgetting my personal opinion of Darrelle’s training camp holdout last year. Never mind the talk of his job being easier due to the Jets’ pass rush, Darrelle Revis is a phenomenal cover corner and it is true when Rex Ryan said after the 2009 season that it was arguably the best season by a corner since Deion in his prime. The number of pro bowl and future hall of fame receivers he shut down week after week in such a difficult position to play was amazing. He is very strong for a corner. Once he gets his hands on you, many receivers find it difficult to get separation from then on. He is quick, fast and has brilliant technique. He has good ball skills but it is something he could work on. If he continues to play at this level, he wil have less and less INTs opportunities in the coming years and when he gets a chance he must take them. Missing training camp had an effect on his performances in the 2010 season but he still had a very good season and some teams didn’t even bother looking his way when he was on form. His best should still be ahead of him as long he keeps on playing with motivation and desire and it is scary how good he could be.

1. Nnamdi Asomugha – Oakland Raiders #21

Many would pick Revis as the best CB in the league and they will point out the 2009 season as the reason why. Nnamdi Asomugha or Scrabble, has been blanketing receivers on his side for the past 5 years. He is well built at 6’2” 210 lbs and he has long arms and like Revis, it’s hard to separate when he gets his hands on you. He was a safety in college and I have never heard of such a good transition from safety to corner. The change in position usually goes the other way. So as expected, he is strong in run support, especially for a cornerback.  Since the 2006 season when he had 8 INTs, teams have been avoiding his side of the field. There are two reasons why Nnamdi does not get as much national publicity as Revis. Firstly, he plays in the dictatorial career-destroying organisation called the Raiders (although there are recent signs of improvement). It’s hard to get away from publicity if you play in New York like Revis. Also, there is some criticism that he doesn’t follow the number 1 receiver around like Revis does; Nnamdi just gets a side of the field to defend. However, that is just the system he plays in and if he had the chance I am sure he would want to play against the best receiver at all times. But whichever player he lines up against he blankets the opposition. Peyton Manning singled out Nnamdi as one player he wants to avoid. Other QBs have followed suit and many don’t even bother targeting him and this is shown in only having 3 INTs in the last 4 seasons. ‘Shut down corner’ is an overused term in the NFL but Revis was shutting down players in 2009 and Nnamdi has been shutting WRs down for the last 5 years. A fantastic player.

Overrated: Deangelo Hall – A loudmouth who can have the odd good play but he makes too many bad plays to make up for it. He is also a bad tackler and a player that people remember for his pre-draft workout speed rather than his (lack of) production

Underrated: Quentin Jammer – This could have been Jerraud Powers for the Colts or Brent Grimes of the Falcons but I’m sticking with the 31 year old veteran. He was overshadowed by the playmaking abilities of Cromartie and although Antonio has left, Quentin still doesn’t get the recognition for his consistently successful performances.

One for the Future: Devin Mccourty/Patrick Peterson – Some good CBs came out in the 2010 NFL draft such as Haden and Verner but Mccourty was an unexpected revelation. On an average but opportunistic defense he became the turnover machine, helping limit the opposition’s best receiver and also came up with 7 INTS. Patrick Peterson is the best CB draft prospect I have seen since I first started really analysing the draft process in 2007.

Greatest of All-Time (GOAT): Deion Sanders – He changed the position and is arguably the best athlete ever to play the game. His work ethic is also underrated. It was still difficult to leave out Mel Blount and Night Train Lane though.

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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in NFL


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The Best Players in the NFL – Top 5 Safeties


This is the first part of my top 5 rankings for every position in the NFL. It will culminate in an overall top 10 players in the NFL list.
This is arguably this weakest position in the league. It is suprising when the position has become so valuable in recent years with the opening up of the NFL passing attack. Maybe it is for that very reason. It is hard to play safety at a high level consistently for many years because you have to be able to play the pass and tackle in the open field at a very high level. I can name former all-pros whose bodies are now catching up with them (Adrian Wilson and Brian Dawkins), and safeties that have inconsistent seasons (Jairus Byrd, Kerry Rhodes, Laron Landry). Although lacking depth, the elite safeties (positions 1 and 2) are two of the best players in the league and two of the best in their positions in the history of the game:

5. Antrel Rolle (New York Giants)

Adrian Wilson, Oshiomogho Atogwe and Kerry Rhodes could have been picks here but Antrel Rolle just takes it. He’s a good player but only makes this list due to lack of other options. He thinks he is better than he actually is. He is very good in run support, but can make mental errors that lead to big plays in the passing game. He has very good games and then a bad game. I do appreciate that he is a very good playmaker and very dangerous when he has the ball in his hands.

4. Antoine Bethea (Indianapolis Colts)

Underrated and a very good player for the Colts. He is the perfect Colts defensive player; a reliable, athletic, football-smart player that flies to the ball. In his 5 seasons in the NFL, he has had two 100 tackle seasons and two 90+ tackle seasons, fantastic for a safety. He is arguably the surest tackling safety in the league. Although it would be nice to see him develop into a better playmaker especially his ball-hawking skills, he was worth the $27 million (4 year) contract extension he got in June 2010.

3. Nick Collins (Green Bay Packers)

Coming off a Superbowl where he had a huge pick-six, he gained the national attention that his play over the last few years have warranted. In my opinion, he is by far the 3rd best safety in the league. He does play in a very good defence but he has played on average to poor defences in the past and he played at a high level then. He is an above-average tackler and has outstanding range and ball skills. When he gets the ball in his hands he is dynamic too. Very good all-round safety entering his prime.

2. Ed Reed (Baltimore Ravens)

Ed Reed is the probably the best deep zone ball-hawking safety in the history of the NFL. His range in the passing game is unbelievable and he has probably the best hands for any defensive back in the league. He rarely drops an interception opportunity. He is also known to be a big hitter and his open-field tackling is solid. His returning is one of the best the league has ever seen for a defensive player. He has 54 INTs and judging by his 8 INTs (to lead the league) in only 10 games last season, he will add a lot more to that tally. A certain hall of famer.

1. Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers)

My favourite player in the league. You cant go wrong with either Reed or Troy but I chose Troy for his impact and versatility. There is nothing he can’t do. He is a tremendous blitzer, he makes crazy interceptions and (although he isn’t the classic big hitter) he is a crunching tackler, who specialises in below the knee wipeouts. He is the definition of a playmaker and his closing speed is unbelievable. The first quarter and a half of the 2009 season opener was the most impactful individual half-game performance I have seen. The fact that he can have such an impact on an already amazing Steelers’ defense is a credit to his unique talent.

Other Awards:

Overrated: Brandon Merriweather (Patriots) – He lost his starting job for the Patriots mid-season but made the pro bowl.

Underrated: Patrick Chung (Patriots) – The best safety on the Patriots and a less dynamic version of Nick Collins. A good all-round safety.

One for the future: Eric Berry (Chiefts) – Earl Thomas is a possibility here but Eric Berry just has more natural talent that Thomas does. Berry reminds me of a more talented Antrel Rolle. Future perennial pro-bowler.

Best of all time: Ronnie Lott (Longest Tenure: 49ers)– No arguments expected

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in NFL, Sports


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The Best Players in the NFL (Feature)

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….It’s the greatest sport with the greatest athletes.

I am starting a feature on the best players in the NFL.

I will eventually make an overall top 10 list. To help me reach that position I will make top 5 lists for each position:


I can only pick 5 from each position and ten from the whole league so I CAN’T NAME EVERYONE!

I will also have name for each position:

  • One overrated player
  • One Underrated
  • One for the Future
  • The Greatest of all time

We will start with Safeties.

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in NFL


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