At 52, Butkus Is Still Feared
Though both are retired, those nasty masters of mayhem, linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus (above right), figured prominently in this week's poll, which asked NFL quarterbacks to name the player they would least like to see bearing down on them. Fifty-three QBs responded. Taylor got six votes, while Butkus, who hasn't suited up in 22 seasons, got three, including Mike Buck's. "After he smacked the hell out of me," said the 28-year-old Arizona Cardinal, "he'd probably lean over and spit on me."
The top vote getter, with eight, was Buffalo Bill defensive end Bruce Smith (inset). He was not, however, the choice of New York Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason, even though it was Smith who put Esiason out of action on Oct. 8 with a Butkus-like hit. Esiason chose Pittsburgh linebacker Greg Lloyd, who got five other votes to tie Taylor and Green Bay Packer tackle Reggie White for second place.
The best answer came from Miami's Dan Marino. "I'd pick [ Atlanta's] Darryl Talley," said Marino, "because he's the ugliest guy I ever played against." Marino said it with a smile, though, because he and the linebacker are good friends. Well, they were good friends.