Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
8 of 30
John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

(2006-12). John Abraham. 23. player. 44. . DE

  • Franchise leader in career quarterback sacks (68.5)
  • Set franchise record for most quarterbacks sacks in a season in 2008 (16.5)
  • First-Team All-Pro (2010), Second-Team All-Pro (2008) w/Falcons
  • 1x Pro Bowl w/Falcons (2010)

Getting after the quarterback is always an important part of winning. While Atlanta was the breeding ground of Grits Blitz and the place where defensive end Claude Humphrey cemented his Pro Football Hall of Fame legacy, the Falcons have gone through a series of dry spells when it comes to rushing the passer.

That being said, this was clearly not the case during the seven years defensive end John Abraham played for the Dirty Birds. He was already a two-time first-team All-Pro pass rusher with the New York Jets before he was traded to the Falcons in 2006. The former first-round pick out of nearby South Carolina certainly made a home for himself during the bulk of his career with the Falcons.

In Atlanta, Abraham had over 10.0 quarterbacks sacks in a season four times. He set the franchise record for quarterback sacks in a season with 16.5 in 2008. Strangely, he would not earn a trip to the Pro Bowl that year, but managed to earn second-team All-Pro honors.

His best season with the Falcons would come in 2010 when Atlanta had the best record in the NFC. Abraham had 13.0 quarterback sacks, earning his only Atlanta Pro Bowl nod and first-team All-Pro designation.

The Falcons would end up getting crushed in the NFC Divisional Round at home to the underdog and eventual Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers. Yes, this was when Aaron Rodgers first entered his prime.

Abraham would play with the Falcons through the 2012 season. He would accumulate a franchise record of 68.5 quarterback sacks before leaving Flowery Branch. Abraham spent part of the next two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2013 before retiring in 2014.

If you look at his overall body of work split between the Jets, Falcons and Cardinals, there is reason to believe that Abraham will achieve Canton enshrinement. As one of the best pass rushers of his era, Abraham ended up with 133.5 quarterback sacks in 15 NFL seasons.

Though he may not end up in the Ring of Honor, due to his previous success and association with the Jets, Abraham will likely have a bronze bust in Canton one day.