Shutdown Corner - NFL

Is Hines Ward(notes) simply a guy who likes to play hard or a cheap shot artist? According to NFL players, it's the latter.

Sports Illustrated asked 296 players who they thought was the dirtiest player in the league and the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver was a resounding victor, earning nearly double the votes of the next highest player. 

I was always on Ward's side when it came to the dirty/hard argument, but his block on Keith Rivers last year swayed me to the other side. It's a gray area though; if Ward was on my favorite team I'd defend him to the death.

Below is a partial list of vote-getters, their percentage of the vote and a brief description of their dirtiness. You'll find that there is literally nothing surprising about the results of the poll, other than that Vince Young(notes) got a vote. (What, he throws his clipboard at people?)

1. Hines Ward (11.6 percent): One of two players on this list to have a rule informally named after themselves, Ward is known for lighting up defenders with a bit too much gusto after an interception or fumble.

2. Albert Haynesworth(notes) (6.0 percent): We can safely assume that Haynesworth earned the vote of Andre Gurode

4. Roy Williams (5.1 percent): Even though the horse collar rule was made to protect the league's quarterbacks from the former Dallas Cowboys "star", I had never really thought that Williams was dirty. I just figured he did it because he couldn't tackle.

7. Richie Incognito(notes) (3.7 percent): You know that famous baseball-related bar trivia question that asks how many ways a batter can reach first base? Incognito's dossier reads like a list of all the possible ways to accrue a personal foul.

Even though he retired last spring, former Chargers safety Rodney Harrison(notes) received three votes, thus showing that dirtiness can live on in perpetuity. 

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