This is an article from the Sept. 24, 2007 issue
You willcertainly hear from many bruised egos in reaction to Peter King's ranking ofthe NFL's top 500 players (The King 500, Sept. 3), but the loudest outcryshould come from kickers. Six placekickers and six punters on the whole list!How many games are decided by the heroics--and miscues--of these unsungathletes?
Russell E. Ruthig, Cortland, N.Y.
King rankedMarvin Harrison 42nd and described him as "slipping." But Harrison, 35,is still outplaying other wide receivers who are in their primes. His 1,366receiving yards were the second most in the NFL last year, and his 95receptions were third best.
Lucas Button, Syracuse
Ranking Ray Lewisat No. 86, as the 14th-best linebacker--and third-best Ravens linebacker--willno doubt inspire him to have an MVP-caliber season. I guess it's a good thing Ihave Baltimore as my fantasy team defense.
Greg Stillman, Avon, Conn.
Brett Favre isthe best 113th-ranked player in the history of the NFL.
Bruce Gilbert, Penn Valley, Pa.
Deuce McAllisterat 289? Is he playing with one leg this year?
Roy Thagard Jr., Fayetteville, N.C.
I had to searchall the way to 392 to find the best fullback of the last 25 years, Lorenzo Nealof the Chargers. He has blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher for 10 straightseasons.
Brandon John L'Herault
Santa Clarita, Calif.
How can Ravensrunning back Willis McGahee miss the top 500 but Cowboys punter Mat McBriarmake the top 300?
Tyler Steinhardt, Baltimore
The Steelers'Willie Parker was way too low at No. 173--he and the Eagles' Brian Westbrook(96) are the same guy, just in different uniforms. That being said, aftercareful review for four hours, I've concluded that King's list was ...awesome.
Lee Schwartz, Fargo, N.D.
Law of Order
Only twice in thepast five years have teams in an NFL division finished in the exact order asthe year before--the 2002 and '03 NFC North and the '04 and '05 NFC West.Therefore, it will be amazing if Dr. Z's predictions for this season (2007Scouting Reports, Sept. 3) come true. He projects five of the eight divisionsto finish in the same order as they did last season--and, remarkably, the otherthree divisions as only a flip-flop away from doing the same thing.
Jonathan Ruppel, Mount Juliet, Tenn.
Charlie Leerhsenwrites in The Fall and Rise of Michael Vick (PLAYERS, Sept. 3) that "ifVick's case has taught us anything, it's that it is dicey to face troubleduring a slow news cycle." Leerhsen adds that the crime's coverage expandedto fill available media space. In fact, the scale of the coverage was exactlyright. Vick is one of the nation's most gifted athletes, and tens of millionsof people were creeped out by the details.
Bob Frost, San Francisco
Vick's redemptionis not "inevitable." Many sports fans are disgusted by the criminalbehavior of once-revered pro athletes.
Ken Steuernagel, Dallas
Ironically, aftereveryone is through punishing Vick, the word that might well describe him whenhe returns to football is underdog.
Hwun Yee Chen, Burlingame, Calif.
My wife and Icried together after reading Rick Reilly's article about Korinne Shroyer'sfamily, her suicide and how her donated lungs gave life to a stranger, LenGeiger (LIFE OF REILLY, Sept. 3). The image of Korinne's mom touching the chestof the recipient of her daughter's lungs--to feel her dead daughter breatheagain--is one that will remain with me for a long time.
Curt Eisenhower, Ashburn, Va.
If this storydoesn't make you run out and get an organ donor card, I don't know whatwill.
Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb, Toronto
By Reilly'ssimply mentioning Alpha-1 (the disease that led to my need for a lungtransplant) in his column, readers have gone to www.alphaone.org to researchthis treatable, inherited condition. Increasing awareness of Alpha-1 is a causeto which I've dedicated my life. But beyond this broader benefit, Rick's columngave me a chance to publicly thank the family whose unselfish decision saved mylife.
Len Geiger, Jacksonville
Reilly'sbittersweet column shared an amazing story about saving lives and healingthrough organ donation, yet it missed an important opportunity to discuss youthsuicide prevention. In 2004 there were 1,983 suicides among adolescents ages 10to 19 in the U.S., of which nearly half were firearm-related. Basic steps--suchas locking up guns and educating families to look for warning signs ofsuicide--can save many young lives each year.
Lauren Raskin Ramos, Alexandria, Va.
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