Vote: Is Milan Lucic the Toughest Current Boston Athlete?

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Vote: Is Milan Lucic the Toughest Current Boston Athlete?Milan Lucic is sure to have a target on his back when the Bruins take on the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night.

The Sabres did not retaliate after Lucic's hit on goalie Ryan Miller when the two teams played on Nov. 12 in Boston. But now that the teams are playing again in Buffalo, it will be interesting to see if the Sabres seek revenge.

The Buins forward has had his fair share fights during his career, including some of the best in Bruins history, and very rarely comes out on the losing end. There's little doubt Lucic is one of the toughest players in the league, but what about among other Boston athletes?

At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the biggest tight ends in the league, let alone one of the toughest to tackle. Consider his touchdown Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. After catching the ball in the flat, Gronkowski absorbed a strong hit to his legs from Chiefs defensive back Donald Washington, kept running toward the end zone and landed on his head after making a diving leap for the score. He also admitted that he'd hide concussion symptoms in order to play.

Gronkowski's teammate, offensive guard Logan Mankins, has been one of the best blockers in the league since he was drafted by the Patriots in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft.

"There are tough players and then there are the super tough guys. I'd say Mankins would go into that [second] category," head coach Bill Belichick has said.

Dustin Pedroia talks a lot of smack and never shies away from speaking his mind. He can back it up too, as he was named the 2008 American League MVP award and has been selected to three All-Star Games. Despite missing half of the 2010 season after undergoing surgery on his left foot, Pedroia returned for a strong 2011, batting .307 and putting together a 25-game hitting streak.

Celtics forward Paul Pierce is known for getting into altercations with other players, most notably with James Jones and Dwyane Wade in the second round of the 2011 NBA playoffs. Pierce gave Jones a little head nudge after getting in his face and was charged with a technical foul. Moments later, Wade ran into Pierce's screen and the two traded words. Both were issued technicals, meaning Pierce was out of the game.

But who is the toughest of them all? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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