With any NFL player rankings list, a number of factors need to be considered when it comes to selecting names on a “best ever” list.
Pro Bowl berths, production, leadership, overall value to the team and a myriad of other factors are in the equation.
When looking at the top Bengals players in the Marvin Lewis era, Leon Hall has to be on the list. Even though his career is winding down and he’s on his fourth team in as many years, his time in Cincinnati has to be marveled.
Stats with the Bengals under Lewis:
Seasons with Bengals: 9
Tackles: 366 (Eighth in team history)
Interceptions: 26 (Fourth in team history)
Touchdowns: 3 (Tied for third-highest in team history)
Passes Defended: 112 (Team record)
Forced Fumbles: 5
Fumble Recoveries: 2
Why he makes the list:
Durability and toughness: After playing in all 16 games his first four seasons, Hall was dealt a devastating blow in the form of an Achilles injury in Week 9 of 2011 against the Titans. He came back the following year to play 15 games, including the postseason loss to the Texans, only to suffer another Achilles injury in the 2013 Week 7 clash against the Lions to the other leg.
Yet, through it all, he returned to play in 31 of 34 potential games in 2014 and 2015. Though he never made a Pro Bowl, Hall has been a consummate pro and gave everything he could to the Bengals.
Production: Some of the above-mentioned numbers speak for themselves. Interceptions and passes defended aside, the fact that he ranks so high in tackles speaks to his toughness at a position that normally doesn’t exude it, shows how valuable he was to so many strong Bengals defensive units.
Team player: The injuries and subsequent recoveries, as well as the production and time spent with the team point to Hall being one of the better players in Marvin Lewis’ tenure.
But, it’s in his attitude, as well as his willingness to stay in Cincinnati, despite their many ups and downs (unlike his counterpart, Johnathan Joseph), that make Hall a great Bengal.