Powered by:
as known from New York Timesas known from USA Todayas known from yahoo!
Contains commercial content
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Ten NFL Players with Great Careers Cut Short by Injury

Ten NFL Players with Great Careers Cut Short by Injury

Ten NFL players who had great careers cut short by injury!
Publish Date: 01/25/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

This list of 10 NFL players whose great careers were cut short by injury is to pay homage to those NFL players who, due to misfortune, were unable to achieve everything they were capable of. On this list, you will not see guys like Gale Sayers, Terrell Davis, Bo Jackson, etc.: These guys are all remembered as great players, some are in the Hall of Fame, and some will be soon…


The criteria are to find guys that would have been a hall of famers but had their careers ended early. All ten of these men could have been a Hall of Famers with no career-ending injuries.

1) Greg Cook, Cincinnati Bengals

We can start with Greg Cook because when Coach Bill Walsh says you were the most talented quarterback he’s ever seen, that will get your attention right there. Cook was named the 1969 AFL Rookie of the Year and averaged over 18 yards a completion and over 9 yards per attempt. Cook possessed Terry Bradshaw’s size and strength and Joe Montana’s instincts. A shoulder injury during his rookie career ended his career; he played most of that rookie year with the injury.

Video: Fans mourn death of Greg Cook

Fans mourn death of Greg Cook

2) Tony Boselli, Jacksonville Jaguars

Boselli did not enter the league until 1995 and was still named to the NFL All-Decade team. He was named the NFL Lineman of the Year on two different occasions. Boselli was big, strong, athletic and was often compared to Anthony Munoz, the greatest tackle in NFL history. Boselli’s career was ended after only 90 games because of an injury to his shoulder.

Boselli was a dominant player, and even though his career was cut short, he was recently named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and he deserved it.

Video: Tony Boselli Video Highlights

Tony Boselli Video Highlights

3) Jerome Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

Jerome Brown was a force of nature! As an interior defensive lineman, he had great hands and feet and used his leverage to defeat blockers seemingly at will. He was named an All-Pro in 1990-91. His career was cut short by a car crash in June 1992.

Brown and White were a scary combo up front for those Eagles teams. To die in the prime of his career is heartbreaking. Brown was a great defensive lineman.

Video: Never Forget Me (Jerome Brown Tribute)

Never Forget Me (Jerome Brown Tribute)

4) William Andrews, Atlanta Falcons

Andrews was named to the Pro Bowl four times in a career that spanned just six years: He was a big bruising back who would give defensive backs nightmares when he would get into the open field.

In 1983, Andrews had his best season, at least statistically, finishing second in the NFL in rushing with 1,567 yards and second in rushing yards per game at 97.9 while adding 59 receptions for 609 yards. He also finished second in yards from scrimmage at 2,176. A knee injury early the next year ended his career.

Video: William Andrews runs over Ronnie Lott

William Andrews runs over Ronnie Lott

5) Billy Simms, Detroit Lions

Simms was the 1980 NFL Rookie of the Year, ultimately going for 4,419 yards and 37 touchdowns with the Lions in just over four seasons. His career, much like Andrews’, was cut short by a knee injury. Simms was an electrifying runner, the precursor to Barry Sanders in Detroit.

Simms made the Lions into contenders in his four years as the star in Detroit leading the Lions to the playoffs in 1982 and 1983. Simms would have been a hall of fame running back, he was that great.

Video: November 13, 1983 - Detroit Lions at Houston Oilers (Billy Sims Karate Kick)

November 13, 1983 – Detroit Lions at Houston Oilers (Billy Sims Karate Kick)

6) Joe Delaney, Kansas City Chiefs

Delaney was named AFC Rookie of the Year for the 1981 NFL season after he rushed for 1,121 yards, set four club records, and averaged 80.9 yards a game. Delaney’s effort helped propel the Chiefs to a 9-7 record, the team’s first winning season since 1973. His 1982 season was cut short by a detached retina. Delany tragically passed away on June 29, 1983, as he dove into a pond trying to save three drowning children.

Delaney will never be forgotten in Kansas City or Louisiana and its not because he was a great football player, no it will be because of the kind of man he was.

Video: Joe Delaney #37 - Haughton High School - Kansas City Chiefs

Joe Delaney #37 – Haughton High School – Kansas City Chiefs

7) Ickey Woods, Cincinnati Bengals

Woods burst onto the scene like a comet going through the night sky, and sadly his career lasted about as long as a comet. Woods had a great blend of size and speed that has rarely been seen in an NFL running back, especially in the 1980s.

Woods became a national sports hero in the matter of a few weeks because of his Ickey Shuffle, but he more importantly He helped lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl that year. The next season was not as magical for Woods, as he tore his ACL in just the second game of the season during a blowout victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He did return for a few years and played sparingly, but he never could recapture the magic of the 1988 season.

8) Ricky Bell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay’s decision to draft Ricky Bell was controversial: The Bucs passed on Tony Dorsett to get him. Bell’s old college coach at USC was the reason why that decision was made.

In 1979, Bell enjoyed his best season, rushing for 1,263 yards and leading the Buccaneers to the NFC Central Division title, the first time the Bucs had ever qualified for the playoffs. He then led the Buccaneers to their first playoff win in franchise history that season by rushing for 142 yards on 38 carries and scoring two touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bucs lost at home the next week to the Los Angeles Rams, 9-0.

Bell was never the same player again, dying at age 29 of heart failure caused by dermatomyositis. The disease had left him weak and losing weight for the last couple of years of his career.

Video: Ricky Bell

Ricky Bell

9) Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs

Holmes’s first two years in the NFL were as a backup. Starting in 2001, that all changed for Holmes: He ran for over 1,400 yards for three consecutive seasons; he had 21 rushing touchdowns in 2002 and set the *NFL record for rushing touchdowns* in a single season with 27 in 2003. Holmes was amazingly on pace to break that record in 2004, going for 14 touchdowns in only eight games before sustaining a season-ending injury that would be the beginning of the end for his career.

Priest Holmes was just one of many great Chiefs running backs over the years.

Video: Priest Holmes -

Priest Holmes – “Legendary” II Career Highlights

10) Tony Hunter, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams

Tony Hunter was one of the greatest tight ends in Notre Dame history: He was big, strong, fast, and had reliable hands. Tony was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1983 and played for two years on a bad Bills team.

Luckily for Tony, he ended up in Los Angeles with the Rams for the 1985 season. Tony thrived on the Rams, hauling 50 passes for 562 yards and 4 TDs. He helped lead the Rams to the 1985 NFC Championship game and a loss to the eventual champion Chicago Bears. Tony injured his knee and could only play seven games during the 1986 season. Tony was a unique talent and would have been a great TE in today’s offenses.

Video: Former Notre Dame Star Tony Hunter

Former Notre Dame Star Tony Hunter

Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Come Fly with me: How the 1988-89 Chicago Bulls pushed forward to an NBA dynasty.
Find the best sportsbook to bet on the NBA Playoffs! Prologue: By ...
Bet365 Promo
Michael Nunn and Iran Barkley Discuss Their Bout, Bob Arum, and the Four Kings
Mountains to Climb, Pebbles in Your Shoe “I always say that was ...
What is the Best Decade of Basketball in NBA History?
15Every NBA player and fan thinks that their generation of basketball was ...
Every NFL team’s best player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame- NFC East
The Pro Football Hall of Fame houses the greatest players in NFL ...
Predicting the next five Pro Football Hall of Fame classes
Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Lady Tyger’s Tale: How Marian Trimiar Mauled the Boxing Establishment of the 1970s and 80s
To Feed the Ambition in Your Heart is Like Carrying a Tiger ...
The Forgotten Canadian Champion (And Maybe It’s Deserved): Billy Hawkins
As Mike Goodpaster and I prepare our popular Old-Time Boxing Show podcast, ...
The Army Boxer Who Knocked-Down Muhammad Ali (1960)
I had wanted to write a boxing story about Junebug Hudson for ...
Latest News
Top 10 One-Hit wonder seasons in Baseball History
This list is for players who had one ...
Top 10 Athletes past the age of 40 All Time: Where does Tom Brady rank?
Most great athletes retire when they reach their ...
2024 NFL Mock Draft 4.0
It's Mock Draft Monday! The NFL Draft is ...
Top 10 College Basketball programs to never win a National Championship
It's hard to win a National Championship, unless ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: NFL Weekly Pick'em Show: Divisional Playoffs
NFL Weekly Pick'em Show: Divisional Playoffs
Video: NCAA Championship Game Preview: Purdue vs UCONN *Upset Special*?
NCAA Championship Game Preview: Purdue vs UCONN *Upset Special*?
Video: Survive and Advance: Masters Preview with Special Guest Brian Hammons
Survive and Advance: Masters Preview with Special Guest Brian Hammons
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365 Review
BetMGM Review
FanDuel Review
Caesars Review
DraftKings Review
Bet365 Bonus
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
T&Cs apply
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM Bonus
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $200 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply
Caesars Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
BetFanatics Bonus
Bet $100, Get $100 in Bonus Bets Every Day for 10 Days!
T&Cs apply
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterJosh SchwartzSimon BriffaMark LewisSamuel Teets
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Players accepted in the US US Flag
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
$55 Stake Cash + 260K Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 18+
Payment Methods
  • Exclusive promo code: TGTSOCIAL
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site