You may have thought that Patrick Willis, Brian Urlacher, or Ray Lewis are playing the best linebacker in the NFL right now. Maybe you're under the impression that NaVorro Bowman or Sean Lee are doing the same at an underrated level. Well, Karlos Dansby of the Miami Dolphins would like you to know that you're barking up the wrong tree.
The former Arizona Cardinals standout, who signed a five-year, $43 million contract with the 'Fins in March of 2010, told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that when you're looking around for the ultimate elite at his position … well, look no further.
"I feel like I'm the best, and now I just have to prove it. I've been saying it for the last couple of years, and I'm just now getting my opportunity to be on the stage to show it," Dansby said, just after the Dolphins won their second (and second straight) game of the season over the Washington Redskins. "That's why I chose the Miami Dolphins. That's why I came down here. That's why I chose the AFC East, because everyone said it was the best [division]. I want to play against the best guys. I want to see how I measure."
According to Dansby, he "measures" pretty well.
"I'm better than everybody," Dansby said when Salguero asked if he thought he was better than Ray Lewis. "Everybody. Period. Point blank. I just haven't had the recognition, man. I'm more versatile than everybody. Period. Point blank. I'm more versatile than everybody. Hands down. I can do it all."
"Aging," Dansby said of Brian Urlacher. "He's aging fast, man. He's a great linebacker, but he's aging fast. I respect all the linebackers. But I'm better. That's just how I feel."
To be fair, Dansby is a very good player. This season he's tied for fifth in the NFL in solo tackles among linebackers with 55 -- Derrick Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs and James Anderson of the Carolina Panthers are the others with that mark. Dansby also has two sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and a pick.
So, yeah — maybe he is among the best. But do you really want to put a target on your back like that? Especially when the only thing your team's competing for at this point is a place in the draft position for Andrew Luck?
Dansby remained unfazed — he was on a roll when it came to his own greatness.. "I've played every position there is at linebacker. I played Sam [strong-side] my first two or three years. I've played the Mo [weak-side inside linebacker]. I've played the Will [weakside outside] and now I'm playing the Mike [middle linebacker].
"I can do it all. Nobody else can say they've done that and played at a high level. Nobody else. Everybody plays weak-side or play under at the Mike. I've done it all. I can press the guard. I watch film. I know how good I am."
Dansby, who's come down in weight from the offseason thanks to a bison diet (no, really) believes that the best is yet to come. He had nine solo tackles and a pick against the Redskins.
"I've been having more opportunities the last couple of weeks, and I've been making the most of my chances. This is by far the best game I've had in Miami.
"What didn't I do?"