Sunday, October 5, 2008


Claude Humphrey
6'4" 252
Defensive End
Atlanta Falcons
1968 - 1981
13 Seasons
171 Games Played
126.5 Sacks
11 Fumbles Recovered
1 Touchdown
2 Safeties
2 Interceptions
6 Pro Bowls

Claude B. Humphrey was selected in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft with the 3rd overall choice by the Falcons. He went to college at Tennessee State University. There Humphrey was initially a Offensive Tackle, but was switched to Defensive End in his freshman year, where he became a 3-time All-American. His collegiate stats are unavailable because the school states they are, " in the process of cataloging and annotating records from past seasons now." Claude Humphrey is in the Tennessee State University Hall of Fame, the Georgia Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the Tennessee Hall of Fame, and his high schools Hall of Fame. Humphreys college and high school both retired his jersey.

Humphrey started right away for Atlanta and was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie Of The Year in 1968. In 1976, Humphrey unofficially recorded a career high 15 quarterback sacks because sacks were not recognized by the NFL at that time.. In addition Humphrey was named to the Pro Bowl 6 times between 1970-'74 and in 1977. Humphrey was long recognized as one of the best Defensive Ends in his era, but had played on some mediocre Falcons squads. The 1971 season was their first with a winning record. He retired from the Falcons with 12 games left on the 1978 schedule, saying he felt unappreciated. He once lamented, "In 1969, the Vikings came to town and I scored the winning touchdown (on a fumble return), sacked the quarterback twice, and didn't even get a game ball. They gave the punter a game ball". Humphrey is still the Falcons All Time Sacks Leader with 94.5. He would then be traded to the Philadephia Eagles for two 4th round draft picks. He chose the Eagles because Marion Campbell, who had been his head coach in Atlanta from 1974 to 1976, was the defensive coordinator of Philadelphia. Humphrey said, "I just wanted to reunite with Marion and see if he couldn't help boost my career at that time." It worked, because Humphrey finished second in sacks and led the team with 31 quarterback hurries in 1979. In 1980 Humphrey enjoyed a stellar season as a designated pass rusher, recording a team high 14-1/2 sacks, helping the Eagles become NFC Champions and earn a ticket their first Super Bowl in the franchises history. Humphrey was a member of an excellent defense that had such NFL greats as Bill Bergey, Carl "Big Daddy" Hairston, Herm Edwards, and more. Humphrey finished out his career with the Eagles from 1979-'81.

Claude Humphey was a consistent, and constant force. He had to deal with at least a double team on every snap of the ball. The opponents gameplan, during his Atlanta years, was to try to contain him specifically. Hunphrey still managed to average 10 QB sacks a year, despite only have played 4 games in 1978. Many fans, during that era, missed out on his exploits due to the Falcons overall woes. The lack of publicity had him respected by his peers only, for the most part. This fact is certainly prevelant in the Atlanta Falcons own front offices. For some reason, Humphrey has not yet been inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor. Atlanta showed me how much they care about their own team history recently. I had called to get some information on a few Falcons greats from the 60's and 70's. Atlanta has LOST most of their files and records after they moved offices. Shameful! Claude Humphrey has been a finalist for induction into Canton thrice, but there is no excuse for the hold up. Claude Humphrey should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame many years ago.

Notable Players Drafted In 1968 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)

1. Ron Yary, OT, Minnesota *
2. Bob Johnson, C, Cincinnati
4. Russ Washington, DT/ OT, San Diego
8. Larry Csonka, FB, Miami *
9. Haven Moses, WR, Buffalo
11. Greg Landry, QB, Detroit
13. MacArthur Lane, RB, St. Louis Cardinals
14. Tim Rossovich, LB, Philadelphia
15. Forrest Blue, C, San Francisco
23. John Williams, OT, Baltimore Colts
26. Bill Lueck, G, Green Bay
31. Curley Culp, DT, Denver
33. Charlie West, DB, Minnesota
42. Bob Atkins, DB, St. Louis
43. Bill Lenkaitus, C, SanDiego
47. John Garlington, LB, Cleveland
48. Mike Livingston, QB, Kansas City
52. Ken Stabler, QB, Oakland
69. Skip Vanderbundt, LB, San Francisco
73. Dick Anderson, DB, Miami
74. Charlie Sanders, TE, Detroit *
77. Elvin Bethea, DE, Houston Oilers *
80. Art Shell, OT, Oakland *
81. Dick Himes, OT, Green Bay
82. Paul Robinson, RB, Cincinnati
84. Jess Phillips, RB, Cincinnati
98. Johnny Fuller, DB, San Francisco
105. Jim Beirne, WR, Houston
110. Charlie H. Smith, RB, Oakland
117. Mike Bragg, P, Washington
118. Jim Kiick, RB, Miami
124. Mark Nordquist, G, Philadelphia
127. Cecil Turner, WR, Chicago
130. Blaine Nye, G, Dallas
156. Essex Johnson, RB, Cincinnati
159. D.D. Lewis, LB, Dallas
167. Oscar Reed, RB, Minnesota
176. Bob Brunet, RB, Washington
181. Willie Holman, DE, Chicago
190. George Atkinson, DB, Oakland
222. Paul Smith, DT, Denver
249. John Outlaw, DB, Boston Patriots
261. Tommy Hart, DE, San Francisco
275. Greg Brezina, LB, Atlanta
277. Marv Hubbard, RB, Oakland
288. Henry Davis, LB, NY Giants
289. Rich Coady, C, Chicago
291. Dennis Partee, K, San Diego
297. John Pergine, LB, LA Rams
301. Bob Trumpy, TE, Cincinnati
305. Jim Cheyunski, LB, Boston
317. Jeff Queen, RB, San Diego
323. Harold Jackson, WR, Los Angeles Rams
330. Charlie Greer, DB, Denver
351. Dean Halverson, LB, LA Rams
357. Marlin Briscoe, WR, Denver
375. Robert Holmes, RB, Kansas City
417. Rocky Bleier, RB, Pittsburgh
428. Larry Cole, DE, Dallas
441. Bob Lee, QB, Minnesota


Anonymous said...

WHAT a beast, great one today CCC!! lots of notables as well, awesome!

Lester's Legends said...

another great profile of a player I never heard of. nice job.