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    Best NFL Careers Cut Short by Injuries: Bo Jackson, Priest Holmes Headline Top 7

    What are the top NFL career-ending injuries? We offer our top seven, which include the likes of Bo Jackson, Gale Sayers, and Priest Holmes.

    All athletes fear career-ending injuries. Sometimes, those fears are realized.

    Throughout the history of the NFL, numerous promising careers have been cut short by either a rash of injuries or a single, significant injury. Some players might’ve gone on to have Hall of Fame careers.

    But what are the best NFL careers cut short by injuries? We came up with seven, along with six honorable mentions.

    7 Best NFL Careers Cut Short by Injuries

    (Note: We excluded players whose careers were cut short by death, like Sean Taylor, as they belong in a separate category.)

    Honorable mentions: Daunte Culpepper (QB), Luke Kuechly (LB), Steve Emtman (DT), Greg Cook (QB), Robert Edwards (RB), LeCharles Bentley (C)

    7) Al Toon, WR

    The New York Jets selected Al Toon 10th overall in the 1985 NFL Draft, and through four seasons, he looked like one of the best receivers in franchise history. He made it to three Pro Bowls, twice eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, and once led the league in receptions.

    But Toon suffered a serious concussion in 1988 and suffered at least four more over the next four seasons. He never reclaimed his early career form and retired after his age-29 season.

    6) Priest Holmes, RB

    Priest Holmes is a tricky one. He was healthy for the first 7+ seasons of his career, amassing 7,584 yards, 80 touchdowns, and three first-team All-Pro nods along the way.

    But Holmes’ dominant 2004 campaign was cut short by an ankle injury, and a neck injury forced him to miss half of the 2005 season and all of 2006. Holmes returned in 2007 but re-injured his neck and never played again.

    5) Tony Boselli, OT

    Tony Boselli was well on his way to being one of the greatest tackles in history — if not the greatest. In his first six seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars legend made five Pro Bowls and earned three first-team All-Pro nods. Then, in 2001, Boselli suffered a major shoulder injury that ended his career. He still made it to the Hall of Fame, though.

    4) Terrell Davis, RB

    In an alternate universe, Terrell Davis might’ve been the most accomplished running back of all time. The Denver Broncos legend was a superstar during his first four seasons, especially in 1998 when he posted 2,008 yards, 21 TDs, and won the MVP.

    However, Davis tore his ACL the following season, and subsequent injuries the following two years forced his early retirement in 2001.

    3) Sterling Sharpe, WR

    Sterling Sharpe was one of the NFL’s best receivers from 1988 through 1994. He made five Pro Bowls, led the NFL in catches three times, and led the league in receiving yards once.

    Sharpe was a total stud for the Green Bay Packers, yet in 1994, he suffered a late-season neck injury, and doctors never cleared him to play again. If not for the injury, Sharpe likely would’ve landed in the Hall of Fame.

    2) Gale Sayers, RB

    Some NFL Hall of Famers will tell you that Gale Sayers was the best football player they’ve ever seen — and the Chicago Bears legend really was that good.

    Sayers still enjoyed a Hall of Fame career — he earned five first-team All-Pro nods and twice led the NFL in rushing — but significant injuries to both knees forced him to retire at 28 years old after eight seasons.

    KEEP READING: Building the Perfect NFL Quarterback

    Sayers is still considered one of the best running backs and kick returners of all time. But his numbers would’ve been even more impressive had he stayed healthy.

    1) Bo Jackson, RB

    Perhaps the most gifted athlete ever, Bo Jackson’s career was derailed when he suffered a major hip injury during the 1990 playoffs. Jackson never played another down, and we’re left to wonder whether he would’ve turned in a Hall of Fame career.

    Before the injury, Jackson amassed 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry over four seasons for the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

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