7. Philip Rivers Plays With Torn ACL in AFC Championship
In 2007 season, Philip Rivers hurt his knee in the divisional playoff game against the Colts and had to be removed from the game. The Chargers ended up winning, but Rivers' status was uncertain for the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. But sure enough when Sunday rolled around, Rivers was starting under center. The Chargers would ultimately end up on the wrong side of a 21-12 Patriots victory, however what Rivers revealed later in the week was truly shocking. Rivers had been playing on a partially torn ACL in his knee, and had undergone secret arthroscopic surgery earlier in the week just to be able to play in the game. The arthroscopic surgery was not a simple decision either, as doing so meant that he would need a more extensive operation in the off season, and his rehabilitation would be longer as well. It's not often that young quarterbacks such as Rivers would put their careers on the line on such a bold and courageous decision, and despite the loss, Rivers forever gained the respect of his teammates as one of the toughest players on the team.
6. Anquan Boldin's Quick Recovery From Jaw Breaking Hit
Anquan Boldin burst onto the NFL scene in 2003 with one of the greatest rookie receiving seasons of all-time. He's been one of the best receivers in the NFL ever since. He's had some trouble staying healthy, but nobody can doubt Boldin's toughness after this incident.
This brutal helmet-to-helmet hit in 2008 by safety Eric Smith left Boldin with a fractured sinusand knocked his upper jaw out of place. Doctors were forced to cut the jaw bones on both sides just to realign it properly and his jaw required 7 plates and 40 screws to hold in place. The hit was so brutal that Kurt Warner actually considered retiring after watching the play. These are exactly the sort of hits the NFL want to make sure have no place in the game of football. Boldin somehow miraculous missed only two games and was head-butting players in practice his first week back. To make a comeback from such a horrendous injury and essentially shrug it off as part of the game shows Boldin's amazing toughness.
5. Chris Simms Plays With Ruptured Spleen
Simms might be one of the least well-known players on this list, but what he went through during a 2006 game against the Carolina Panthers was nothing short of remarkable. The Buccaneers QB took many brutal hits that day, one of which resulted in the rupture of his spleen. Simms did not know the severity of the injury at the time, and kept on playing throughout the game, only sitting out briefly two times. Simms even led the Bucs on a go ahead drive late in the 4th, however the defense blew the lead and they ultimately lost the game. After the game it was determined that Simms' spleen had been ruptured and he was suffering from dehydration. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he received emergency blood transfusions and had his spleen removed. He made a full recovery, but had to spend the next several days in the hospital. While losing a spleen is not life-threatening, rupturing one is and usually results in internal bleeding. The fact that Simms ruptured his spleen and still was able to stay in the game and almost lead his team to victory is unbelievable. Although he did not know it at the time, Simms was risking his life just by staying out on the football field in what was one of the largest displays of toughness is recent memory.