By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – In an anonymous survey conducted by ESPN’s NFL Nation, 320 players overwhelmingly chose two Detroit Lions as the most feared players in the league.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has a reputation for dirty play but is also renowned as an unstoppable force as far as disrupting quarterbacks. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is simply regarded as one of the best the game has ever seen.
Suh came in first place as “most feared,” with 61 votes, and Johnson finished second with 58 votes. The competition turned out to be a landslide as no other player got more than 30 votes, while 48 players total got at least one vote.
Suh’s 19 percent of the total and Johnson’s 18 percent of the total were close to triple the next-highest percentages.
Houston Texas defensive end J. J. Watt earned 7.5 percent of the vote, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis got 7.2, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning got 6.6, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker James Harrison got 5.6, and five percent of players voted for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Suh took his lopsided election as “most feared” as a compliment.
“If it’s feared from the context of they don’t want to play against me and they are worried about how I may affect the game and affect the offense, it’s definitely appreciated,” Suh told ESPN.com. “It’s definitely seen as a plus and a positive. Guys have respect for you, just like guys have respect for Calvin.”
Johnson recognizes that teams game-plan specifically for him, and while it certainly makes his job more difficult, he knows it means he must be doing something right. If that makes him “feared,” it is all good.
“Well, the fact that you’re doing something right and that you’re doing it consistently,” Johnson said to ESPN.com. “You can’t be inconsistent and teams game-plan and scheme for you.
“So I just enjoy the fact that I’m doing it on a consistent basis,” Johnson added.
Despite the rankings of Suh and Johnson in a poll that essentially measures who is most revered across the league, the Lions still faltered down the stretch, losing six of their last seven and missing the playoffs after a 6-3 start.