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The Shutdown Five: Who I’ll miss the most

Shutdown Corner

Lists are the one thing in the sports world that can be counted on to consistently fire people up, and that's one thing we don't do enough of here on The Corner: make you angry. Periodically, Shutdown Corner presents a list of five NFL-related somethings.

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During one of our Monday Night Live Chats, I mentioned that Michael Vick and Deion Sanders were the two most exciting players I'd ever seen. Not necessarily the best players, but the guys you don't want to take your eyes off of. The guys most likely to make a game-changing play at any second, and not always in a good way. The guys with the most ability to make you say, "Holy (your expletive of choice)."

Outside of my own rooting interests, those are the kind of guys I'll miss seeing the most, if these jerkfaces insist on going ahead with this lockout. So here it is: My pre-emptive love letter to those individuals I'll miss seeing the most if we lose out on actual football games.

5. Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers. Pretend you didn't see the Troy Polamalu of the last few games of last season. A healthy Polamalu does things no one else can do. The speed with which he closes gaps and his ability to singlehandedly disrupt an offense aren't duplicated by any other safety in the game.

4. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans. You might argue that there are better running backs, but I don't think anyone else has the same ability to change a game with one touch.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is incapable of boring football. His favorite move is to hold onto the football until he's in a position where something wacky almost has to happen -- be it a ridiculous completion that no one else could make, or a sack/fumble that was totally unnecessary.

2. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans. Beast. The strength of a linebacker, the speed of a sprinter, and the hands of, well, Andre Johnson. That the Texans like to give up 30 points a game ensures that Johnson will always be used a lot, too.

1. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles. There's never been anyone like him. We've had fast quarterbacks, we've had quarterbacks with cannon arms, and we've had playmakers. But we've never had anyone who combines all of them like Vick. He'd easily top the list on physical skills alone.

When you add in all the ancillary factors, like the redemption angle, the fact that he's loathed by so many, the fact that he's beloved by so many, and the fact that he's come back even better after spending 18 months eating prison food, and it just doesn't get more fascinating than that. The 2010/2011 version of Michael Vick might be the most captivating athlete ever. That's what they're threatening to take away from us right now.

Honorable Mentions: Aaron Rodgers, Jamaal Charles, Tom Brady, Devin Hester, Ndamukong Suh, Desean Jackson.

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