A ferocious presence in the middle of the Bears' defense, Singletary had a team-record 10 Pro Bowl selections at middle linebacker, and his career 172 starts were second only to Walter Payton's.
Runner-up: Dave Dalby
Worthy of consideration: Jeff Simeon, Ken Strong, Mike Vrabel, Alex Wojciechowicz
2 of 50
Butkus remains the standard by which all middle linebackers are judged. He was named to eight straight Pro Bowls.
Runner-up: Sam Mills
Worthy of consideration: Randy Cross, Kevin Hardy, Jim Ringo, Jim Ritcher.
3 of 50
The Ravens inspirational leader is a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He enters his 15th season in 2010.
Runner-up: Mike Webster
Worthy of consideration: Robert Brazile, Frank Gatski, Ted Johnson
4 of 50
While Lawrence Taylor patrolled the outside for the Giants, Carson clogged up the run at middle linebacker. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and earned Hall of Fame honors in 2006.
Runner-up: Randy Gradishar
Worthy of consideration: Jeff Bostic, Ray Donaldson, Mick Tingelhoff, Alex Wojciechowicz , Jim Youngblood
5 of 50
A tough pick over Brian Urlacher. White was one of the best linemen of his era. He missed one game in 14 years.
Runner-up: Brian Urlacher
Worthy of consideration: Tedy Bruschi, Chuck Howley, Bob Johnson, EJ Junior, Chris Spielman, Zack Thomas
6 of 50
One of the great linebackers of the 1990s, starring at outside linebacker for the Chargers, Seau was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1992 NFL Defensive player of the year. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Runner-up: Derrick Brooks
Worthy of consideration: Chris Hanburger, Lee Roy Jordan, Willie McGinest, Matt Millen, Joey Porter
7 of 50
Might be the easiest choice of them all: The league's greatest outside linebacker.
Runner-up: Chris Doleman
Worthy of consideration: Bill Hewitt, Shawne Merriman, Hardy Nickerson, Jerry Robinson, Joe Schmidt, Pat Swilling, Andre Tippett
8 of 50
He's why Dan Marino still looks good on television. The Dolphins center was elected to five consecutive Pro Bowls during the 1980s and started in 80 consecutive games until the 1987 season.
Runner-up: Clay Matthews
Worthy of consideration: Tom Jackson, Rickey Jackson, Olin Kreutz, Mike Merriweather, Steven Nelson, Bart Scott, Jeff Van Note
9 of 50
A vicious tackler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Steelers, Lambert played in nine straight Pro Bowls (1976-84).
Runner-up: Derrick Thomas
Worthy of consideration: Carl Banks, Kim Bokamper, Peter Boulware, Wilber Marshall, Jesse Tuggle, Keena Turner
10 of 50
Played his outside linebacker position for the Steelers with surgical precision: 25 sacks, 21 opponents' fumbles recovered and 32 interceptions.
Runner-up Seth Joyner
Worthy of consideration: Matt Blair
11 of 50
Yes, it’s Otto again. Graham wore No. 60 from 1946 to 1951 before rules changes prompted him to switch to No. 14., a number deemed for quarterbacks. He was the AAFC MVP in 1947 and co-MVP in 1948.
Runner-up: Chuck Bednarik
Worthy of consideration: Tommy Nobis, Otis Sistrunk
12 of 50
Culp was a forerunner of the ''nose guard'' position, and starred on the Chiefs and Oilers lines in the '70s.
Runner-up: Bill George
Worthy of consideration: Tim Ruddy, Nick Hardwick, Nate Newton, Blaine Nye, Jesse Sapolu
13 of 50
One of the finest centers in NFL history, he anchored the Dolphins line during the 1970s. Langer was named All-Pro six straight years, from 1973 to 1978.
Runner-up: Guy McIntyre
Worthy of consideration: Charley Trippi, Ed White
14 of 50
Lanier, an All-Pro every year from 1968 through 1977, was the first African-American star at middle linebacker. He played his entire 11-year career for the Chiefs.
Runner-up: Lee Roy Selmon
Worthy of consideration: Dermontti Dawson, Mike Munchak, Fuzzy Thurston, Gene Upshaw
15 of 50
The Packer guard might have thrown the most famous block in NFL history, opening a hole for Bart Starr's game-winning sneak in the famed Ice Bowl (the 1967 NFL championship).
Runner-up: Randall McDaniel
Worthy of consideration: Jim Burt, Ken Gray, Jack Reynolds
16 of 50
Bethea heads a number that's light on stars. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection at defensive end for the Oilers, he recorded (unofficially) 105 career sacks.
Runner-up: Gary Zimmerman
Worthy of consideration: Dave Butz, Joe Fields, Max Montoya, Bart Oates
17 of 50
The NFL’s Hall of Fame Web site calls him a savage defender on defense – an apt description. Nitschke patrolled the middle of Lombardi’s defense with speed and anger. He had 25 interceptions and was the MVP of the 1962 NFL Championship.
Runner-up: Bill Bergey
Worthy of consideration: Conrad Dobler, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Larry Little, Bulldog Turner
18 of 50
Part of Buffalo's famed "Electric Company" line that blocked for O.J. Simpson, McKenzie was a standout offensive lineman for 13 seasons for the Bills and Seahawks.
Runner-up: Bob Kuechenberg
Worthy of consideration: Stan Brock, Kent Hull, Russell Maryland, Les Richter, Art Still, Ed White
19 of 50
A ferocious pillar of the Steel Curtain, Greenwood teamed with Joe Greene on the left-side to form one of the league’s greatest defensive lines. He had 73.5 career sacks and was All-AFC five times.
Runner-up: Russ Grimm
Worthy of consideration: Rubin Carter, Joe DeLamielleure, Kevin Mawae, Will Shields, Kyle Turley
20 of 50
Krumrie was an underrated force on the defensive line for the Bengals during the `80s. He played in two Pro Bowls (1987, 1988).
Runner-up: Will Wolford
Worthy of consideration: Jared Allen (Vikings), Woody Peoples, and Mark Schlereth
21 of 50
Time Magazine once described Huff, who starred at linebacker for the Giants in the `50s, as a "smiling fighter fired with a devout desire to sink a thick shoulder into every ball carrier in the National Football League." He played in six title games and five Pro Bowls.
Runner-up: Art Donovan
Worthy of consideration: Leon Gray, Henry Lawrence, Jim Marshall, Ernie Stautner, Bob Whitfield, Rayfield Wright, Al Wistert
22 of 50
The fiesty lineman played 12 seasons for the Lions and was an All-Pro selection three times before retiring for a career in Hollywood and the immortal line, "Mongo only pawn in game of life."
Runner-up: Walter Jones
Worthy of consideration: Tony Boselli, Fred Dean (Chargers), Walter Jones, Charles Mann
23 of 50
The Hall of Fame right tackle anchored the Cardinals line over his 13 years with the club. He played in six Pro Bowls and following his retirement, he became an announcer with ABC and CBS Sports.
Runner-up: Ed (Too Tall) Jones
Worthy of consideration: Earl Dotson, Brad Hopkins, Dexter Manley, Joe Nash
24 of 50
SI proclaimed him "The Best Offensive Lineman of All Time" on the cover of the Aug. 3, 1981 issue. Believe the hype. Hannah played 13 seasons for the Patriots and was named All-Pro 10 straight years from 1976 through 1985.
Runner-up: Ron Yary
Worthy of consideration: Larry Allen, Bob Baumhower, Doug Dieken, Joe Klecko, Mark May, Leo Nomellini
25 of 50
Before he became an actor and commercial pitchman, Olsen terrorized quarterbacks during his 15-year-career with the Rams and played in 14 straight Pro Bowls.
Runner-up: Bob Lilly
Worthy of consideration: Bruce Matthews, Fred Dean (San Francisco), Henry Jordan, Louie Kelcher, Bob Lilly, Ron Mix, Mike Reid
26 of 50
A sack-master before it became cool, the 6-foot-5 defensive end teamed with tackle Merlin Olsen to give the Rams a "Fearsome" left side of the defensive line.
Runner-up: Mean Joe Greene
Worthy of consideration: Lomas Brown, Manny Fernandez, Forrest Gregg, George Kunz, Howie Long, Jonathan Ogden, Jethro Pugh, Stan Walters
27 of 50
You have to love a kicker who is nicknamed The Toe and wears a lineman's number (he was an all-NFL tackle before a back injury forced him to become a full-time kicker). Groza played 21 seasons, mostly with the Browns, and led the NFL in field goals five times.
Runner-up: Marion Motley
Worthy of consideration: Bob Brown, Roger Brown, Lou Creekmur, Rosey Grier, Steve Hutchinson Steve McMichael, Orlando Pace
28 of 50
As a pro with the Bears, his fame rivaled Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth.
Runner-up: Jim Parker
Worthy of consideration: Lyle Alzado, AJ Duhe, Ernie Ladd, Willie Roaf
29 of 50
The dominant offensive tackle of his era, Munoz played 13 seasons for the Bengals (1980-92) and was elected to the Pro Bowl 11 straight times.
Runner-up: Art Shell
Worthy of consideration: Bruce Armstrong, Bobby Bell, Stan Jones, Mike Kenn, Jackie Slater, Bruce Smith, Bubba Smith, Richmond Webb, Dwight White
30 of 50
Brown started 13 seasons for the Giants at tackle and was an All-NFL selection for eight straight years (1956-1963)
Runner-Up: Erik Williams
Worthy of consideration: Harris Barton, Roosevelt Brown, Ross Browner, Jacob Green, Gary Johnson, Jim Lachey, Jim Hunt, Harvey Martin, Bob St. Claire
31 of 50
The NFL's career leader in receptions (1,549), yards (22,895) and touchdowns (208), Rice was a key member of three Super Bowl champions as a Niner.
Runner-up: Steve Largent
Worthy of consideration: Issac Bruce, Cris Carter, Cris Collinsworth, Henry Ellard, Irving Fryar, Andrew Johnson, James Lofton, Kellen Winslow
32 of 50
The Heisman Trophy-winner (1987) out of Notre Dame led the NFL in kick return yardage as a rookie with the Raiders. Brown wrapped up his 17-year career in 2004, ranked second all-time in receiving yardage (14,934) and third in catches (1,094).
Runner-up: Dick (Night Train) Lane
Worthy of consideration: Doug Atkins, Roy Green, Art Monk, Randy Moss (New England), Terrell Owens, Andy Robustelli
33 of 50
Elusive, precise Hall of Fame wideout was Colts quarterback John Unitas' favorite target from 1956-67, leading the NFL in receptions four times. Set NFL title game records with 12 catches for 178 yards in 1958.
Runner-up: John Stallworth
Worthy of consideration: Ozzie Newsome, Mike Quick, Jimmy Smith, John Stallworth, John Taylor, Jason Witten
34 of 50
Hall of Fame linebacker got the nickname Mad Stork for his gangly frame (6-7, 220-pounds). An eight-time Pro Bowl selection who blocked 25 field goals during his 15-season career with the Colts, Packers and Raiders, Hendricks played in 215 consecutive games and four Super Bowls.
Runner-up: Andre Reed
Worthy of consideration: Mark Clayton, John Jefferson, George Sauer, Bobby Watson
35 of 50
Motor-mouthed member of the Broncos (12 seasons) and Ravens (two), Sharpe earned first-team NFL All-Decade honors for the 1990s. The eight-time Pro Bowl pick finished with 815 receptions 10,060 yards and 62 TDs.
Runner-up: Sterling Sharpe
Worthy of consideration: Gary Clark, Herman Moore, Randy Moss, Jay Novacek, Jack Snow
36 of 50
Hall of Fame defensive end was a seven-time Pro Bowl pick in 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams (1971-84). Tough and durable, he played 201 straight games -- and all of Super Bowl XIV despite a broken left leg.
Runner-up: Nick Buoniconti
Worthy of consideration: Julius Adams, Mark Duper, Antonio Gates, Mel Gray, Chad Ochocinco, Wesley Walker
37 of 50
The first player drafted by the AFL -- he went to the K.C. Chiefs in 1963 out of Grambling -- the fast, ferocious 6' 7", 270-pound Hall of Fame defensive tackle swatted down 16 passes in 1967 and later played in two Super Bowls.
Runner up: Dante Lavelli
Worthy of consideration: Gary Collins, Antonio Freeman, Stanley Morgan, Charley Young, Hines Ward
38 of 50
Two-time Pro Bowl wideout hauled in 506 passes during his nine-seasons with the 49ers, none more memorable than The Catch -- his leaping end-zone grab with 51 seconds left that beat Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship Game.
Runner-up: Dave Casper
Worthy of consideration: Ben Coates, Willie Davis, Lionel Taylor
39 of 50
Hall of Fame defensive tackle was a mainstay of the Vikings' feared "Purple People Eaters" defense. Page played in four Super Bowls and was the NFL MVP in 1971 as well the Defensive Player of Year in `71 and `73.
Runner-up: John Mackey
Worthy of consideration: Terry Glenn, Jimmy Giles, Tony Gonzalez, Marvin Harrison, Tory Holt, Michael Irvin, Keith Jackson, Ron Kramer, Drew Pearson, Charley Sanders, Lynn Swann, Al Toon
40 of 50
The hardnosed tight end helped revolutionize his position by making a then-record 75 receptions for the Bears in 1964. The five-time Pro Bowl pick was the first tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Runner-up: Gino Marchetti
Worthy of consideration: Mark Bavaro, Wes Chandler, Nat Moore, Otis Taylor, Steve Smith
41 of 50
He and Chiefs teammate Derrick Thomas combined to form one of the most devastating pass rushing duos in NFL history. (Smith famously swung a baseball bat after the sacking the quarterback, a tribute to fellow Kansas city icon George Brett.) Late in his career he left for rival Denver, where he went on to win a pair of Super Bowl titles. He finished with 86.6 career sacks.
Runner-up: Jevon Kearse
Worthy of consideration: Tony Brackens, Chad Eaton, Julius Peppers, Chuck Smith, George Webster
42 of 50
Wild man Greene played 15 seasons as an outside linebacker, racking up 160 sacks and five Pro Bowl selections. He ranked in the Top 10 in sacks ten times.
Runner-up: Chester McGlockton
Worthy of consideration: Robert Porcher
43 of 50
The Minister of Defense was an ordained man of the cloth but a merciless pass-rusher. A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1987, '98), he played in a record 13 straight Pro Bowls and retired in 2000 as the NFL's all-time sacks leader (198), a mark since broken.
Runner-up: Michael Strahan
Worthy of consideration: Albert Haynsworth, Haloti Ngata, Michael Dean Perry, Ted Washington
44 of 50
Randle tortured offensive lineman during his 14 seasons as a Viking (1990-2000) and Seahawk (2001-03). He finished with 137.5 sacks and was a seven-time pro Bowl election.
Runner-up: Dwight Freeney
Worthy of consideration: Trace Armstrong, Jerry Ball, Gilbert Brown, Kevin Carter, Richard Seymour, Greg Townsend
45 of 50
The five-time Pro Bowl pick was a pass-rush force from the linebacker and defensive end spots from 1986-99 and is the only five-time Super Bowl-winner (three with Dallas, two with San Francisco).
Runner-up: Dana Stubblefield
Worthy of consideration: John Abraham, Chad Brown, Joe Johnson (New Orleans), DeMarcus Ware
46 of 50
Dent was a central figure on Chicago’s dominant "46" defense (he played defensive end) that ate the NFL whole in 1985. That year, he led the league with 17 sacks and earned Super Bowl XX MVP honors.
Runner-up: Greg Lloyd
Worthy of consideration: Bryce Paup
47 of 50
A mountain of a man (6-3, 306) who could really motor, the seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle spent his entire 11-year career with the Seattle Seahawks, winning 1992 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Runner-up: Tom Harmon (St. Louis)
Worthy of consideration: Sean Jones, Clyde Simmons, Adalius Thomas
48 of 50
The speedy 6-5, 266-pound defensive end recorded 10 or more sacks in 12 seasons and had an MVP-caliber performance for the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Rice had 122 career sacks.
Runner-up: Cornelius Bennett
Worthy of consideration: LaRoi Glover, Henry Thomas, Bryant Young
49 of 50
A five-time Pro Bowl selection at outside linebacker, Peterson starred for the Niners (where he wore the number) and Seahawks before moving to Detroit last year.
Runner-up: Tony Siragusa
Worthy of consideration: Jessie Armstead, John Henderson, Eric Swann
50 of 50
With a nonstop motor and a mouth to boot, Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection at defensive tackle. During a 12-year career with Tampa Bay and Oakland, which included being named the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Sapp had 96.5 sacks.
Runner-up: Jerome Brown
Worthy of consideration: Marshall Goldberg (Cardinals), Dan Hampton, Levon Kirkland, Jason Taylor
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