Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Entertainment | Sports | Defensive Backs

NFL Defensive Backs have a reputation for being mean, hard-hitting guys. And many defensive backs like "Mean" Joe Greene, Dick Butkus and Ronnie Lott were just that.

Featured
Mike Haynes

Mike Haynes managed 46 interceptions during his career, helping him get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He made a large impact with the Raiders and played a major role in their title run in 1983.


Jack Lambert

 Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert was named All-Pro seven times in a nine-year span and played in nine straight Pro Bowls. Discover more about powerhouse Jack Lambert. See more »

Willie Lanier

 Willie Lanier

Willie Lanier, one of the best middle linebackers to play, was All-Pro, All-AFL, or All-AFC every year from 1968–75. Learn about Willie Lanier. See more »

Ronnie Lott

 Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott had speed, strength, and a knowledge of the game that set him apart from other defensive backs. See records held by Ronnie Lott. See more »

Joe Greene

 Joe Greene

Joe Greene went from being unknown to being the most dominating lineman of his time. Read more about the intelligent and friendly "Mean Joe." See more »

Jack Ham

 Jack Ham

Jack Ham, a small linebacker, didn't think that his career would last, but Ham ended up playing for 12 glory-filled years. Read about Jack Ham. See more »

Ray Nitschke

 Ray Nitschke

Ray Nitschke was a ruthless middle linebacker but an all-around nice guy off the field. Learn more about Ray Nitschke, the Green Bay Packers star. See more »

Mike Haynes

 Mike Haynes

Mike Haynes managed 46 interceptions during his career, helping him get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Learn more about the agile Mike Haynes. See more »

Ted Hendricks

 Ted Hendricks

Ted Hendricks recovered 16 fumbles and intercepted 26 passes in 15 seasons. Learn more about the "Mad Stork" Ted Hendricks and his amazing career. See more »

Ken Houston

 Ken Houston

Ken Houston set an NFL record by returning nine interceptions for touchdowns with the Oilers. Discover more about Football Hall of Famer Ken Houston. See more »

Larry Wilson

 Larry Wilson

Larry Wilson was the All-Pro Safety for the St. Louis Cardinals. Learn more about Larry Wilson's life and successful football career. See more »