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193 voters

The Best NFL Players From Illinois

Updated November 1, 2020 1.5k votes 193 voters 3.9k views42 items

List RulesVote up the top pro football players born or raised in Illinois

Here’s a list of the best NFL players from Illinois. The Prairie State is home to some bona fide tough guys who have put a quite a beating on their opponents every Sunday they played in the NFL. Some of the best football players of all time like Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and Rodney Harrison came from Illinois.

Vote for who you think are the top NFL players from Illinois and add any of your favorites missing from the list!

  • Dick Butkus1
    117
    8

    Dick Butkus

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionLinebacker, Center

    Age73

    TeamsChicago Bears

    Richard Marvin Butkus (born December 9, 1942) is an American former football player, sports...  more
  • Otto Graham2
    77
    14

    Otto Graham

    Waukegan, Illinois

    PositionQuarterback

    AgeDied at 82 (1921-2003)

    TeamsCleveland Browns

    Otto Everett Graham Jr. (December 6, 1921 – December 17, 2003) was an American football...  more
  • Charles Tillman3
    72
    13

    Charles Tillman

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionCornerback

    Age34

    TeamsLouisiana Ragin' Cajuns football, Chicago Bears

    Charles Anthony Tillman (born February 23, 1981), nicknamed Peanut, is a former American...  more
  • Donovan McNabb4
    74
    19

    Donovan McNabb

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionQuarterback

    Age39

    TeamsPhiladelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins

    Donovan Jamal McNabb (born November 25, 1976) is an American former football quarterback who...  more
  • Shannon Sharpe5
    76
    21

    Shannon Sharpe

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionTight end

    Age47

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Savannah State Tigers football

    Shannon Sharpe (born June 26, 1968) is a former American football tight end who played for the...  more
  • Jimmy Garoppolo6
    James Richard Garoppolo (born November 2, 1991) is an American football quarterback for the...  more
  • George Halas7
    58
    14

    George Halas

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionEnd, Tight end

    AgeDied at 88 (1895-1983)

    George Stanley Halas Sr. (; February 2, 1895 – October 31, 1983), nicknamed "Papa Bear" and...  more
  • Steve Atwater8
    41
    16

    Steve Atwater

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionSafety, Defensive back

    Age53

    TeamsDenver Broncos, New York Jets, Arkansas Razorbacks football

    Stephen Dennis Atwater (born October 28, 1966) is a former American football player who spent...  more
  • John Lynch9
    40
    16

    John Lynch

    Hinsdale, Illinois

    Age49

    TeamsStanford Cardinal football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos

    John Terrence Lynch Jr. (born September 25, 1971) is a former American football strong safety...  more
  • Rodney Harrison10
    36
    13

    Rodney Harrison

    Markham, Illinois

    PositionSafety, Defensive back

    Age47

    TeamsNew England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Western Illinois Leathernecks football

    Rodney Scott Harrison (born December 15, 1971) is an American former professional football...  more
  • Simeon Rice11
    36
    14

    Simeon Rice

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionDefensive end

    Age46

    TeamsIndianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Hartford Colonials

    Simeon James Rice (; born February 24, 1974) is a former American football defensive end. He...  more
  • Ray Nitschke12
    37
    20

    Ray Nitschke

    Elmwood Park, Illinois

    PositionLinebacker

    AgeDied at 62 (1936-1998)

    TeamsGreen Bay Packers

    Raymond Ernest Nitschke (December 29, 1936 – March 8, 1998) was a professional American...  more
  • Bryan Bulaga13
    31
    20

    Bryan Bulaga

    Barrington, Illinois

    PositionTackle

    Age31

    TeamsGreen Bay Packers

    Bryan Joseph Bulaga ( boo-LAH-gə; born March 21, 1989) is an American football offensive...  more
  • Michael Turner14
    21
    11

    Michael Turner

    Waukegan, Illinois

    PositionRunning back, Return specialist

    Age38

    TeamsNorthern Illinois Huskies football, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers

    Michael Turner (born February 13, 1982) is a former American football running back who played...  more
  • Ken Anderson15
    19
    8

    Ken Anderson

    Batavia, Illinois

    PositionQuarterback

    Age66

    TeamsCincinnati Bengals

    Kenneth Allan Anderson (born February 15, 1949) is a former American football quarterback who...  more
  • Jim Hart16
    16
    9

    Jim Hart

    Evanston, Illinois

    PositionQuarterback

    Age71

    James Warren Hart (born April 29, 1944) is a former American football quarterback who played...  more
  • Ken Norton, Jr.17
    17
    12

    Ken Norton, Jr.

    Jacksonville, Illinois

    PositionLinebacker

    Age54

    Kenneth Howard Norton Jr. (born September 29, 1966) is an American football coach and former...  more
  • Chris Hinton18
    9
    2

    Chris Hinton

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionTackle, Offensive Lineman, Guard

    Age59

    Christopher Jerrod Hinton (born July 31, 1961) is a former American football tackle and guard...  more
  • Chris Zorich19
    9
    2

    Chris Zorich

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionDefensive tackle, Tackle

    Age51

    Christopher Robert Zorich (born March 16, 1969) is a former American football defensive tackle...  more
  • Len Rohde20
    2
    5

    Len Rohde

    Palatine, Illinois

    PositionTackle

    Age82

    Leonard Emil Rohde (April 16, 1938 – May 13, 2017) was an American football offensive tackle...  more
  • Paddy Driscoll21
    7
    4

    Paddy Driscoll

    Evanston, Illinois

    PositionQuarterback

    AgeDec. at 72 (1896-1968)

    TeamsChicago Bears

    John Leo "Paddy" Driscoll (January 11, 1895 – June 29, 1968) was an American football and...  more
  • Bryant Young22
    10
    8

    Bryant Young

    Chicago Heights, Illinois

    PositionDefensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    Age48

    Bryant Colby Young (born January 27, 1972) is a former American football defensive tackle for...  more
  • George Connor23
    9
    6

    George Connor

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionTackle, Offensive Lineman, Linebacker

    AgeDied at 78 (1925-2003)

    George Leo Connor (January 21, 1925 – March 31, 2003) was an American football player for the...  more
  • Ray Buchanan24
    9
    6

    Ray Buchanan

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionCornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    Age49

    TeamsIndianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons

    Raymond Louis Buchanan (born September 29, 1971) is a former American football player in the...  more
  • Renaldo Wynn25
    2
    5

    Renaldo Wynn

    Chicago, Illinois

    PositionDefensive end

    Age46

    TeamsWashington Redskins

    Renaldo Levalle Wynn (born September 3, 1974) is a former American football defensive end. He...  more