Each football player has its own purpose. The role of a linebacker is protection. It is the linebacker’s job to defend the goal area on the field. They are also responsible for blocking plays by the opposing team. Before each play, the linebackers stand behind the line of scrimmage in front of the safeties. In football, some linebackers are better than others. Here are the 25 hardest hitting linebackers of all-time.
Bobby Bell is a six-foot, 228-pound three-time Pro Bowler. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1969. In Super Bowl IV, Bell played a vital role in the Chiefs beating Minnesota with a score of 23 to 7. Over 168 games, he collected 26 interceptions and eight touchdowns. In 1983, he became a Hall of Famer. He is a multi-talented athlete who proved himself as an incredible linebacker during his career.
Zach is five-feet, eleven-inches, which is relatively small for the NFL, but he was huge on the field. The Miami Dolphins picked him out of Texas Tech in 1996. He played great his first year and was voted the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also became a five-time first-team All-Pro. He played in the Pro Bowl seven times. During the ’90s, he was a member of the All-Decade Team, and there is a good chance that he will be a Hall of Famer.
Greg is six-feet, 2-inches tall, and was picked from Fort Valley State in 1987. He didn’t really shine during his rookie year, but he developed into a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro. Greg won the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. When he retired, he did so with 397 tackles, 54.5 sacks, 24 forced fumbles, and 11 picks. In 2007, Greg was named to the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
James Harrison is six-feet tall, 225-pounds of menacing intimidation. He was drafted from Kent State by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002. He worked hard for the Steelers and grew into a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. He went to the Super Bowl twice and won both times. When James retired on April 16th, he has a total of 793 tackles, 84.5 sacks, and 34 forced fumbles. He also might make the Hall Of Fame.
During Ted’s 15 years in the NFL, he was a tackling machine. The Baltimore Colts picked him up from Miami in 1969. He was given the nickname “The Mad Stork” and was an eight-time Pro Bowler. He was also a four-time first-team All-Pro. Ted was named to the league’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. As a Colt, Ted won one Super Bowl, and with the Raiders, he won three championships. He was a powerful player and proved this on the field every Sunday.
Cornelius is a three-time first-team All-American at Alabama. During his career, in 206 games, he had 1,190 tackles, 71.5 sacks, seven interceptions, and 31 forced fumbles. Cornelius was recognized for his talents when he made the league’s 1990s All-Decade Team. He also made the Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary squad. For some reason, which makes no sense, he didn’t make the Hall of Fame.
Nick played college ball for Notre Dame. Being five-feet, eleven-inches tall, Nick was considered too small for the NFL. It wasn’t until 1962 that he got his chance when the Boston Patriots drafted him. He was their 102 pick. When Nick excelled in Boston, he proved everyone wrong. He was picked up by Miami, and he helped the Dolphins win back-to-back Super Bowls in 1972 and 1973. He was a member of the Patriots’ Hall of Fame and the Dolphins’ Honor Roll. On August 4, 2001, he secured a place in the Hall of Fame.
Patrick was picked up by the 49ers from the University of Mississippi. He was a great player from the beginning and became the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He went on to be a seven-time Pro Bowler and a five-time first-team All-Pro. Due to a bum toe, he had to retire On March 10, 2015, at the age of 29. There is a good chance that he will find himself in the Hall Of Fame.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Terrell from Arizona State in 2003. During his time on the field, Terrell became a seven-time Pro Bowler and became the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. When the Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Terrell had a lot to do with his team winning. He currently has 842 tackles, 131 sacks, seven interceptions, and 33 forced fumbles. He is destined for the Hall of Fame.
Pat made life on the field difficult for his opponents. He was drafted from Georgia Tech by the Saints in 1986. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. He won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1991 and is a member of the Saints’ Hall of Fame. During his 185 game career, Pat had 490 tackles, 107 sacks, and six interceptions.
DeMarcus played in the NFL for 12 years, and he had a massive presence on the field. The Dallas Cowboys drafted him from Troy University. He proved himself on the field very early on and became a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro. He was released by the Cowboys on March 12, 2014, and was the league’s two-time sack leader. This landed him a three-year, $30 million contract with the Denver Broncos. DeMarcus managed to overpower the Panthers’ linemen during Super Bowl 50 and helped bring his team to victory. During the 178 games DeMarcus played in, he had 654 tackles, 138 sacks, and 358 forced fumbles. He has an excellent chance of getting into the Hall of Fame.
Harry is one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. He is a nine-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. He was drafted by the Giants from South Carolina and helped lead them to victory during Super Bowl XXI against the Denver Broncos. Harry is a member of Big Blue’s Ring of Honor and entered the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Kevin was very underrated. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1985 and was their 113th pick. In 1996, he won the Defensive Player of the Year award, and finally, he proved himself to his critics. During his career, he played for four teams and did well for each of them. During his career, he had 773 tackles, 160 sacks, and was voted to the league’s 1990s All-Decade Team. In 2016, he entered the Hall of Fame.
Bill was drafted from Wake Forest by Chicago in 1951. He was their 23rd choice. He is an eight-time first-team All-Pro. He made the 1950s All-Decade Team. During the 1963 NFL Championship Game, Bill helped the Bear beat the Giants 14 to 10. In 1974, Bill entered the Hall of Fame.
Brian is the most loved Chicago Bear since Walter Payton. He was drafted from the University Of New Mexico in 2000 and was their 9th pick. During the 182 games he played with Chicago, he had 1,353 tackles, 41 sacks, and 22 interceptions. Brian made eight Pro Bowl teams and was a four-time first-team All-Pro. On August 4th, Brian made it to the Hall of Fame.
Jack was drafted by the Steelers from Penn State in 1971. He was Pittsburgh’s 34th pick. He is a six-time first-team All-Pro. During his time with the Steelers, Jack really proved his worth. He managed to collect four Vince Lombardi trophies during the ’70s. During his 162 games, Jack recorded 32 picks and scored twice. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 31, 1988.
Rickey was drafted out of Pittsburgh by the Saints in 1981 and was the 51st pick. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and a four-time first-team All-Pro. During his career, Rickey had 1,173 tackles, 128 sacks, eight interceptions, and 40 forced fumbles. His honors include being a member of the Saints’ Hall of Fame and the Ring Of Honor. Rickey was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010.
Junior was one of the greatest linebackers ever to play football. He was drafted by the Chargers in 1990 from USC and was their fifth selection. During his career, he played for the Chargers, the Miami Dolphins, and the New England Patriots. He was an eight-time first-team All-Pro. Junior was also named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. After retiring in January 2010, he had a total of 1,849 tackles, 56 sacks, 18 interceptions, and 11 forced fumbles. Sadly, he was killed after being shot in the chest on May 2, 2012. In August 2015, Junior was inducted to the Hall of Fame.
Mike was a member of the Chicago Bears’ Monsters of the Midway during the ’80s. He was drafted by the bears from Baylor University in 1981 as their 38th pick. During his career, Mike was a 10-time Pro Bowler, an eight-time first-team All-Pro, and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He helped lead the Bears to victory during Super Bowl XX against the Patriots with a score of 46 to 10. During his career, Mike had 1,488 tackles, 19 sacks, and seven picks. On July 30, 1998, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Derrick was an invaluable member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the late ’90s and early 2000s. He is an 11-time Pro Bowler and a five-time first-team All-Pro. In the 2000s, he was voted to the All-Decade Team. During Super Bowl XXXVII, Derrick helped lead his team to victory against the Oakland Raiders when they won 48 to 21. Throughout his career, Derrick had 1,715 tackles, 13 sacks, 25 interceptions, and 24 forced fumbles. On August 2, 2014, Derrick was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Ray played for the Baltimore Ravens for 17 years. During this time, he played in 13 Pro Bowls. He also played on seven first-team All-Pro squads. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award twice, held helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl in 2000 and 2012. Ray was also a member of the league’s 2000’s All-Decade Team. On August 5th, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Dick Butkus is one of the greatest NFL players of all time. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1965 out of Illinois and was the team’s third pick. He earned the nickname The Enforcer and played in eight Pro Bowls and six first-team All-Pro squads. Over the 119 games that Dick played in, he has 22 interceptions and 27 fumble recoveries. In 1979, he was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Derrick was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs from Alabama in 1989 and was their 4th pick. Right out of the gate, Derrick proved himself as a strong player, and he won the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Derrick was a nine-time Pro Bowler who made three first-team All-Pro squads. Derrick also earned a spot on the league’s 1990 All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 9, 2009. Sadly, Derrick passed away on February 8, 2000, at the age of 33.
Jack was drafted from Penn State by the Steelers in 1974. He was their 46th pick. Jack was an unstoppable force and made the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade teams. He also earned a spot of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. During the ’70s, Jack won four Vince Lombardi trophies and became a first-ballot Hall of Famer on August 4, 1990.
LT was drafted our of North Carolina by the New York Giants as their second overall pick in 1981. During his first year with the Giants, LT won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He also won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times during the ’80s. LT was a member of the league’s 75 Anniversary All-Time Team. LT played in the NFL for 13 years and recorded 132 sacks. On August 8, 1999, LT was inducted into the Hall of Fame.