The NFL has more than its fair share of strong personalities. But the most successful players possess an indomitable will to go along with superhuman strength, size and speed. What can I say? It’s a tough game played by tough people.
But a few of the very best players have still something more: a big mouth. And they aim it squarely at their opponents. The NFL has a rich history of trash talking among its greats. Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor, John Randle, Shannon Sharpe, Warren Sapp, Terrell Owens… the list, like the big talkers, goes on and on.
Here are five of the NFL’s current loudmouths who back it up on the field.
1. Richard Sherman
Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman is arguably the best corner in the NFL right now, and he’s not shy about letting people know it. The rant in last year’s playoffs made him a national celebrity, and he hasn’t stopped talking since. His latest comments — “Pierre doesn’t matter in this league” — refer to Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who Sherman helped shut down in the Seahawks’ win earlier this week. The reason for this comment isn’t clear, though TV game footage does show Garcon pulling Sherman’s hair on one play.
2. DeSean Jackson
The Seahawks-Redskins game included another noted trash-talker: Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson. A childhood friend of Sherman, Jackson had been scoring touchdowns and talking about scoring touchdowns for years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Last season he said that Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis can’t ‘run with me’ and then grabbed six catches in the game, two of which were touchdowns. Now a Redskin, Jackson hit his former team with an 81-yard TD reception and punctuated it by poking fun at the ‘Fly Eagles Fly’ celebration.
3. Jared Allen
Like cornerbacks and wide receivers (and, frankly, most football players), pass rushers have attitudes. Chicago Bears defensive lineman Jared Allen is no different. As a Minnesota Viking, Allen said of a rival city, “if I had to live in Detroit, I think I’d just drown myself in the river that was across the way.” It gets a little more personal when talking about events on the field. Allen once said he beat an opposing offensive lineman “like a red-headed stepchild.” Despite all the talk, his performance on the field speaks volumes. The repeat Pro-Bowler and All-Pro has over 125 career sacks.
4. Antrel Rolle
The New York Giants visit Philadelphia to play the Eagles this weekend. And it just wouldn’t be an Eagles-Giants matchup without a little — or a lot of — trash talking. That’s where Giants safety Antrel Rolle comes in. Earlier in the week, he claimed that the Eagles aren’t the team to beat in the NFC East. These comments are actually pretty tame for Rolle, who once said to Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green, “If he sees me, he better duck.” Rolle anchors a solid Giants defensive backfield. He collected six interceptions last season en route to his first Pro Bowl.
5. Steve Smith
Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith has had a successful NFL career punctuated with his fair share of trash talking. Talking about his 800th career catch — a touchdown — the then-Panther said of defender Jenoris Jenkins, “He’s just another notch on the bedpost … He ain’t no different.” Smith went on to say, “if I see him in the streets I’m going to bust him in his mouth,” perhaps due to other events on the field. He took a jab at his former team during dominant performance this season, telling them to “take your a** back to Carolina. Make sure you mow my lawn while you’re out there.”
Norm Elrod likes sports and other sanctioned forms of craziness.