Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Claude Humphrey, the team’s career leader in sacks, has been named to the NFL Hall of Fame. A dominant pass rusher during an era when the team found little success, it has been a long wait for Humphreys to be enshrined with the league’s best of all time.
The Falcons’ first-round pick, 3rd overall, in 1968, Humphrey was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year that same year. Despite the fact that sacks were counted as an official stat until 1982, after he retired, Humphreys is still credited with 122 career quarterback takedowns, a number that is especially impressive considering he played during an era when teams threw much less than they do today.
A six-time pro bowler, he deserves to the fifth Falcon to be enshrined amongst the greatest to ever play the game. A member of the Falcons 1977 defense that set records, Humphrey was included in the Falcons’ ring of honor in 2008.
Humphrey has been waited many years to get the call for the hall, and finally received the required 80 percent of the vote this time around. Getting into the NFL Hall of Fame can be a tough go for the older players. Once they don’t get in on the first few ballots it becomes tougher and tougher to convince the voters that they belong.