The NFL Network continued its countdown of the Top 100 Players in 2011 as supposedly determined by the players. Sunday night's rundown covered players 21-30 and 49ers all-world linebacker Patrick Willis was ranked No. 23. The two players head of him were LB James Harrison and TE Antonio Gates. Willis ranked ahead of seven other linebackers and I'd imagine the remaining twenty spots will include Ray Lewis, DeMarcus Ware, and Clay Mathews. Only Lewis fills a similar role to Willis, but it's worth noting other linebackers out there.
Upon release of Patrick Willis' position in the rankings, some members of the 49ers responded on Twitter, including Willis....
Adam Snyder and Joe Staley both called BS in support of their teammates. It's always good to see teammates stand up for each other, but it's also not surprising. What did kind of surprise me was Willis' own response to the position. As seen below, Willis responded with "number 23 hmmm" and then a line about it only mattering where he finishes.
Patrick Willis is a great player and likely knows it. However, it's nice to see him express the fact that he thinks he's better than number 23 and will prove it by the end of his career. This is a fairly arbitrary and subjective list so fans only need take it with a grain of salt. However, if it can inspire Patrick Willis further greatness, I'd be happy with that.
Adam Snyder tweet:
Joe Staley tweet:
Saw they had @PatrickWillis52 at 23 on the top 100. That list is bullshit they must have not asked anyone that actually plays.
Patrick Willis tweet:
number 23 hmmm. Its doesn't matter where I start its where I finish that matters most to me. In time my friends. " I have to Keep grinding"