This week, ESPN.com will unveil a project that will name 20 current players with the toughness to play in any era of NFL history. The first four players of the "Any Era" team, determined by a vote among 20 Hall of Fame players, were revealed Monday.
I'll make a note of every NFC North representative, and Monday's batch included Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Below are the verbatim explanations from three Hall of Famers for why Suh made the cut.
"Ndamukong Suh is just nasty. He is just a nasty guy. I love his mentality. He can rip your face off. That's the kind of guy he is. He's a young guy, but he sets the tempo for that team. If they didn't have him, they'd be a totally different team. He is the mindset of that whole team."
"You could put Ndamukong Suh next to Mean Joe Greene or Bubba Smith or back with some of those devastating D-linemen from the 70s and he'd fit right in. Suh’s mean enough to land on his feet wherever you put him. He is a classic tough guy. He belongs back with us. Dick Butkus could tackle our quarterback, Bob Griese, back behind the bench and not be penalized. That's where he belonged, and Suh would have loved our era."
"I love Ndamukong Suh. I would take him and mold him and create a Frankenstein monster. I would want him on my defense, but I would mold him. He is a throwback because they are trying to determine so many things about the physical part of the game right now, and I don't know if they can do it. You want guys who will mix it up, but you don't want stupidity. You are looking for monsters who are going to bring it, and that is who Suh is. He’s feared and respected in the league."