Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Alge Crumpler, Atlanta Falcons
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

44. . TE. (2001-07). Alge Crumpler. 24. player

  • 4x Pro Bowl (2003-06)
  • 316 receptions for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns with Falcons
  • Michael Vick’s safety valve at tight end

We all know that 2001 to 2007 was defined by Michael Vick for the Falcons. His six years with the team sent shock waves through the NFL, as defenses had never seen a dual-threat playmaker like that at quarterback. While Vick was as elusive as they come as a scrambler, he did have to throw the football sometimes.

That’s where former Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler comes into the fold. Drafted 34 picks later at No. 35 in the 2001 NFL Draft out of North Carolina, Crumpler would quickly emerge as Vick’s favorite receiving target in Falcons uniform. While Vick struggled to develop a rapport most notably with Peerless Price, his connection with Crumpler was paramount in the Falcons’ two playoff berths during the Vick era in Atlanta.

Crumpler’s breakout season ironically came in the lost 2003 NFL season when Vick broke his leg in the preseason. He made his first of four straight trips to the Pro Bowl. In his prime, Crumpler was good for about 45 catches for 750 yards and five touchdowns at the tight end position with the Falcons. Keep in mind that the Falcons’ offensive attack at the time was very much ground-centric behind DVD.

Crumpler’s best seasons of his career would come during the Jim Mora era in Atlanta. He helped Atlanta reach its second-ever NFC Championship in 2004 with a 48-reception, 774-yard and six-touchdown campaign. He achieved a career-best in yardage in 2005 with 877 and a career-best in touchdowns in 2006 with eight.

His last season with the Falcons would be the disaster that was 2007. Crumpler was released by the organization in February 2008. He would spend the next three seasons with the Tennessee Titans and the New England Patriots before retiring in 2010.

Crumpler has successfully carved out a success analyst career as a member of the ACC Network. Though he was eventually overshadowed by Tony Gonzalez’s arrival in Atlanta a few years later, there is no doubt how important Crumpler was to the Falcons offense in the early part of Arthur Blank’s ownership of the team. He could be a candidate for the Ring of Honor someday.