Since every player nominated for our Pro Football Weekly Team For The Ages is an all time great there are clearly no bad choices but that is exactly what makes it near impossible to leave guys off at certain positions.
I didn’t really have that problem at outside linebacker though. I would certainly have liked to vote for Bobby Bell, Derrick Brooks, George Webster and Derrick Thomas but the three guys I settled on are pretty much locks.
For all of his failings and foibles off the field, Lawrence Taylor is more than one of the greatest players of all time, he pretty much changed the way defense is played in the NFL.
Blessed with previously unseen physical gifts, L.T. forced opposing coaches to design brand new concepts to protect their quarterbacks and quite simply could not be blocked one-on-one by any player of his era.
In some respects because of his unique and very different physical gifts Ted Hendricks had a similar impact on the game.
For a man his size the “Mad Stork” was a remarkable athlete, he played with an extremely “Bad Attitude,” and his unbelievable wing span and great use of his hands and leverage made it impossible for blockers to get on top of him.
My third choice, and again a really easy choice is Jack Ham. Ham was not the blitzer of hammer that L.T. and the “Stork” were but he is possibly the most complete four down linebacker in the history of the game.
Some might say that it was easy being great playing alongside Greene, Greenwood, Lambert and Blount etc. But Chuck Noll would have told you it was Ham who made all of them better.