The fine people at Sports Illustrated have put together their annual list of the dirtiest players in the NFL and the Steelers' Hines Ward ranked No. 1, while safety Troy Polamalu was ninth.
Ward plays hard and he has drawn a couple of fines during his career, but he's not dirty.
A dirty player is one who goes for an opponent's knees. A dirty player is one who is out to hurt people. A dirty player has likely been suspended a time or two.
Ward is none of that. The same goes for Polamalu.
In fact, of the players on the list, the only ones I would consider dirty are Richie Incognito of the Rams, Harvey Dahl of the Falcons and Roy Williams of the Bengals.
Incognito is well known for his less-than-legal play, while Dahl is a cut-blocking specialist. Williams is so dirty that the league had to make horsecollar tackling illegal because of him - though it hasn't stopped him from doing it.
Albert Haynesworth of Washington and Kevin Mawae of the Titans are also on the list and I've heard from different players that they do some dirty stuff. But they are also very good players.
The thing to remember about these polls is that SI sends a lackey out to each training camp and polls 15 or so players - usually not starters because they're too busy – asking them a number of questions.
Many of the players polled really have no idea what to answer because they are end-of-roster guys or rookies. So they come up with what they've seen on the highlight shows. It's hardly a scientific process.
But kudos to SI for getting people to talk about it.
© As expected Travis Kirschke did not practice again Thursday as he continues to rehab his slightly torn calf muscle.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons also sat out, though the team has two more practice days before leaving for Denver Sunday afternoon.