Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Andre Rison, Atlanta Falcons
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player. 44. . WR. (1990-94). Andre Rison. 27

  • First-Team All-Pro (1990), 3x Second-Team All-Pro (1991-93)
  • 4x Pro Bowl w/Falcons (1990-93)
  • 1993 Receiving touchdowns co-leader (15)
  • Set franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a season in 1993 (15)

Enigmatic, albeit great. Wide receiver Andre Rison certainly made the most of his five years with the Falcons. During his 12-year NFL career out of Michigan State, the Falcons are the team that Rison is best known for playing with.

Rison was initially taken as a late first-round pick by the highly dysfunctional Indianapolis Colts in the 1989 NFL Draft. After just one year with the Colts, Rison was packaged in a deal with standout offensive lineman Chris Hinton and two future picks so that the Colts could eventually trade up to No. 1 to take Indianapolis native quarterback Jeff George No. 1 overall out of Illinois in 1990.

No, that deal did not end up panning out for the Colts, as George would go on to play for, of all teams, the Falcons only a few years later. Ask former head coach June Jones how that went. Rison would emerge as a star receiver for the Falcons right from the jump. In 1990, Rison made his first trip to the Pro Bowl and earned his only first-team All-Pro nod of his career.

In his five seasons with the Falcons, Rison made four trips to the Pro Bowl, had over 1,000 receiving yards in a season four times and over 10 receiving touchdowns in a season four times. Nicknamed “Bad Moon” by ESPN’s Chris Berman for both his colorful personality, as well as a play on his last name with a popular Creedence Clearwater Revival song, we just had a feeling the good times in the ATL weren’t for long with Rison.

Yes, he dated on and off with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC during his playing days with the Falcons. She did burn down Rison’s Atlanta mansion in the process of setting fire to his kicks in a bathtub. Yes, that did happen, and her time spent in a halfway house helped her pen TLC’s biggest hit, “Waterfalls“. True story.

Overall, Rison would have 423 receptions for 5,633 yards and 56 touchdowns in his five years with the Falcons. He would bounce around with five other NFL teams before retiring in 2000. Rison did return to the gridiron in 2004 to play for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL, winning a Grey Cup that year before retiring from football for good in 2005.

Rison might have turned into a journeyman after signing with the Cleveland Browns in 1995 free agency, but he certainly was No Scrub during his five years playing for Atlanta. Despite having over 10,000 career receiving yards, Rison remains on the outside looking in at Canton.