Top Free Safeties Of All Time

The safety position in football is one of the most important on the field. Safeties are responsible for defending against deep passes, helping out in run support, and making crucial tackles in the open field. Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been many great safeties who have excelled at their position. In this article, we will take a look at the top free safeties of all time, as well as some interesting facts about each player.

1. Ed Reed

Ed Reed is widely considered one of the greatest safeties of all time. He played the majority of his career with the Baltimore Ravens and was known for his exceptional ball skills and playmaking ability. Reed was an 9-time Pro Bowler and a 5-time First Team All-Pro selection. He holds the NFL record for most career interception return yards and is tied for the record for most career interception return touchdowns.

Interesting fact: Reed was a standout athlete in high school, excelling in football, basketball, and track. He was recruited to play college football at the University of Miami, where he won a national championship in 2001.

2. Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott is a Hall of Fame safety who played for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, and New York Jets during his career. Lott was known for his hard-hitting style of play and his ability to make plays all over the field. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler and a 6-time First Team All-Pro selection. Lott won four Super Bowls with the 49ers and was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.

Interesting fact: Lott is one of only two players in NFL history to record a pick-six in the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and regular season.

3. Paul Krause

Paul Krause is the NFL’s all-time leader in interceptions with 81. He played for the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings during his career and was known for his exceptional hands and ability to read quarterbacks. Krause was an 8-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time First Team All-Pro selection. He won an NFL Championship with the Redskins in 1963 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Interesting fact: Krause was a standout track athlete in college and held the record for the 60-yard dash at the University of Iowa.

4. Rod Woodson

Rod Woodson is one of the most versatile defensive backs in NFL history. He played cornerback, safety, and nickelback during his career and was known for his speed, agility, and ball skills. Woodson was an 11-time Pro Bowler and a 6-time First Team All-Pro selection. He won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Interesting fact: Woodson is the only player in NFL history to record an interception in 17 consecutive seasons.

5. Brian Dawkins

Brian Dawkins, also known as “Weapon X,” was a fierce competitor and a fan favorite during his career. Dawkins played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos and was known for his hard-hitting style of play and leadership on and off the field. He was a 9-time Pro Bowler and a 4-time First Team All-Pro selection. Dawkins was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Interesting fact: Dawkins was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft, the same draft that produced Hall of Fame players like Ray Lewis, Marvin Harrison, and Terrell Owens.

6. Kenny Easley

Kenny Easley was a dominant safety for the Seattle Seahawks during the 1980s. Easley was known for his physicality, range, and playmaking ability. He was a 5-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time First Team All-Pro selection. Easley won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1984 and was named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.

Interesting fact: Easley was forced to retire from football at the age of 28 due to kidney disease. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

7. Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu was a dynamic safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers during his career. Polamalu was known for his instinctive play, exceptional athleticism, and trademark flowing hair. He was an 8-time Pro Bowler and a 4-time First Team All-Pro selection. Polamalu won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.

Interesting fact: Polamalu was born in Garden Grove, California, and is of Samoan descent. He played college football at the University of Southern California.

8. Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas is one of the most talented safeties of his generation. Thomas played for the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens during his career and was known for his range, speed, and football IQ. He was a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 3-time First Team All-Pro selection. Thomas won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013 and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

Interesting fact: Thomas was drafted by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the same draft that produced Pro Bowl players like Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, and Dez Bryant.

Common Questions:

1. Who is considered the greatest free safety of all time?

– Ed Reed is widely considered the greatest free safety of all time due to his exceptional playmaking ability and ball skills.

2. How many interceptions did Paul Krause have in his career?

– Paul Krause holds the NFL record for interceptions with 81.

3. Which safety is known for his hard-hitting style of play?

– Ronnie Lott is known for his hard-hitting style of play during his career.

4. Who is the only player in NFL history to record an interception in 17 consecutive seasons?

– Rod Woodson is the only player in NFL history to achieve this feat.

5. What was Brian Dawkins’ nickname during his playing days?

– Brian Dawkins was known as “Weapon X” during his playing days.

6. Which safety was forced to retire due to kidney disease?

– Kenny Easley was forced to retire from football at the age of 28 due to kidney disease.

7. How many Super Bowls did Troy Polamalu win with the Pittsburgh Steelers?

– Troy Polamalu won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers during his career.

8. Which safety was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team?

– Earl Thomas was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team for his exceptional play during that decade.

9. Who is the only player to record a pick-six in the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and regular season?

– Ronnie Lott is one of two players in NFL history to achieve this feat.

10. Which safety was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984?

– Kenny Easley was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 for his outstanding play that season.

11. How many Pro Bowls did Earl Thomas earn in his career?

– Earl Thomas earned 7 Pro Bowl selections during his career.

12. Which safety won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2010?

– Troy Polamalu won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2010 for his exceptional play that season.

13. Who won a national championship in college at the University of Miami in 2001?

– Ed Reed won a national championship with the University of Miami in 2001.

14. Which safety was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998?

– Paul Krause was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998 for his outstanding career.

15. How many Super Bowls did Brian Dawkins win during his career?

– Brian Dawkins did not win a Super Bowl during his career, despite his exceptional play.

16. Which safety was known for his signature flowing hair during his playing days?

– Troy Polamalu was known for his signature flowing hair during his playing days.

In conclusion, the top free safeties of all time have left a lasting impact on the game of football with their exceptional playmaking ability, leadership, and dedication to their craft. Players like Ed Reed, Ronnie Lott, and Paul Krause have set the standard for future generations of safeties to follow. These players have demonstrated the importance of the safety position on the field and have helped their teams achieve success through their exceptional play. The legacy of these great safeties will be remembered for years to come in the history of the NFL.

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