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Top-10 NFL iron men heading into 2019

Jesse Reed
New England Patriots trade for Matt Ryan
Dec 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is an unforgiving, physically demanding sport that tends to chew up world-class athletes and spit them out. Yet some iron men have bucked the trend.

The players we will focus on here have the longest consecutive games-played streaks going in the NFL today.

Note: Patrick Peterson would have made the list, but he’ll be serving a six-game suspension to open the season.

T-10. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks (112 games)

Wilson has started 112 consecutive games since taking over the starting quarterback job for Seattle as a third-round rookie in 2012. That’s pretty remarkable given the lack of cohesion on the team’s offensive line for much of his career. With a championship under his belt already and a lofty goal of playing 20 years in the NFL, this 30-year-old star could be one of the league’s all-time greats when he decides to retire.

T-10. Mitchell Schwartz, offensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs (112 games)

Schwartz is the only offensive lineman to crack this list. Like Wilson, he has started every single game since being selected 37th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Cal Berkeley. Like a fine wine, Schwartz has gotten better with age — especially since joining the Chiefs in 2016. He made Second-Team All-Pro in 2016 and 2017, and last year he was voted to the First-Team All-Pro squad.

8. Cameron Jordan, defensive end, New Orleans Saints (113 games)

One of the most underappreciated defensive linemen in the NFL, Jordan wreaks havoc on a weekly basis. He’s been a full-time starter since his rookie season and is dominant against both the run and pass. In eight seasons, he has racked up 71.5 sacks and tallied double-digit sack totals in four of them. With four Pro Bowls and one First-Team All-Pro season under his belt, he’s well on his way to becoming a franchise legend.

7. Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (115 games)

This former No. 2 overall pick would be even higher up on this list if he hadn’t been suspended two games for stomping Evan Smith back in 2011. That suspension aside, Suh has never missed a start due to injury. He has been among the most dominant interior defensive linemen in the NFL since his rookie season with five Pro Bowls and three First-Team All-Pro campaigns.

T-6. Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions (128 games)

Stafford has shown incredible durability throughout his career. This is a guy who has absorbed some incredible hits playing behind a porous Detroit offensive line. Yet he has not missed a single start since the 2011 season when he won Comeback Player of the Year. One of the most prolific passers of his age, Stafford has racked up 38,526 yards and 237 touchdowns since being selected No. 1 overall out of Georgia back in 2009.

T-6. Ryan Kerrigan, outside linebacker, Washington Redskins (128 games)

Since being selected 11th overall in 2011, Kerrigan has quietly gone about his business, which is getting to the quarterback. One of the most underrated players in the league, Kerrigan has racked up 84.5 sacks in eight seasons, including 26 in the past two. No big man in the NFL has started more games in a row than the former Purdue star, who has never missed a start in his career.

4. Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons (147 games)

Since being selected No. 3 overall out of Boston College in 2008, Ryan has started every game but two for the Falcons. The only blemish on his record in terms of longevity came back in 2009 when a turf toe injury kept him out of two games. Since then, he’s been as consistent as a Swiss clock while racking up Hall of Fame-caliber stats.

3. Glover Quin, safety, free agent (148 games)

Quin was selected by the Houston Texans in the fourth round out of New Mexico back in 2009. He started 15 games as a rookie and never looked back. Quin led the league with seven interceptions in 2014 and has 24 for his career. At the age of 33 he can still play at a high level. At this time, it’s unknown if Quin will play in 2019 or retire after being released by Detroit during the offseason.

2. Brandon Carr, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens (176 games)

Carr’s story is pretty special. He’s the lowest-drafted player on this list, having been taken in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State. Incredibly, he’s never missed a single game since then. Not only has Carr never missed a game in 11 seasons, but he’s been an outstanding corner. He enters the 2019 season with 653 tackles, 21 interceptions and 133 passes defensed to his credit.

1. Philip Rivers, quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers (208 games)

Thanks to Ben McAdoo’s absurd decision to bench Eli Manning in 2017, Rivers is the NFL’s current leading iron man. Third on the all-time list for most consecutive games started by a quarterback, he hasn’t missed one since the start of the 2006 campaign. The former No. 4 overall pick has put together a Hall of Fame resume that includes 54,656 yards and 374 touchdowns. He also has been voted to eight Pro Bowls and won the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year award.