4) Antoine Winfield, cornerback, retired
Winfield was Burleson’s teammate in 2004 and 2005 with the Minnesota Vikings.
Winfield is one of the most underrated players of all time. He was too small (5-9, 180 pounds) but incredibly physical – he never removed with a blow or tackle. To date, Winfield has made one of the best plays I have ever seen. I do not remember the exact match, but I do know that he fought through a wide receiver block, shot a guard while shooting and attacked the ball carrier for a loss. I just remember thinking, How is this guy playing so fat? He was a technician and trusted his preparation, which allowed him to have an impressive career of 14 years in the NFL, including three appearances in the Pro Bowl.
Winfield signed a fairly large contract when he arrived in Minnesota in 2004, and I remember trying to check his check one day out of curiosity. He replied, “Fella, worry about your own money.” Even after cashing in on a six-year contract, he was humble, always gave 100%, and conducted his business well.