Welcome back to the Detroit Lions top 50 players of all-time. This time around we dive deep into the archives and take a look a group of guys that were primarily known for “smash mouth” football. Whether it was delivering the big hit, or protecting those around them from it, let’s check out who made the list.
39. Stephen Boyd, LB, 1995-2001
Stephen Boyd was a tackling machine in the Motor City, and a dominate one at that. With complete disregard for his well-being, Boyd was known for delivering savage hits as well as following the ball all over the field.
The Lions selected Boyd in the fifth round of the 1995 NFL Draft out of Boston College, the 141st selection, where he started for four seasons.
As a rookie in the NFL, he backed up legendary All-Pro middle linebacker Chris Spielman. When Spielman left the Lions for the Buffalo Bills in 1996, Boyd became the starter and an integral part of the defense for the next six seasons. In 1997, Boyd paced the Lions with 192 tackles leading Detroit to the NFC Wild Card game for the second time in three seasons.
In 1998, Boyd led the Lions with 156 tackles, despite missing the last three games of the season with a shoulder injury. In fact, Boyd would go on to lead the team in tackles for the next two seasons as well with 188 tackles in 1999, and 166 in 2000.
Boyd retired in May 2002 after playing in only 4 games in the 2001 season due to chronic back pain.
Boyd is the third all-time leading tackler in Lions history, and has a collection of 19-tackle games on his resume as well.