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Former Atlanta Falcon and Pro Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey dies at 77


Professional football player Claude B. Humphrey, a longtime Atlanta Falcons defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer in the National Football League, has passed away. 

Prior to becoming a Falcon, Humphrey played college football for the Tennessee State Tigers (TSU) and was an All-American in 1967. He was drafted out of TSU in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

The 6-4, 252-pound Humphrey was known as an impact player who immediately justified his first-round status after being named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year that season. 

Humphrey played a total of 13 seasons in the league, including 10 with Atlanta and three with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was traded. He finished out his professional career with the Eagles (1979–81). 

During his time in Atlanta, Humphrey earned All-NFL or All-Pro honors eight times. He was named All-NFC seven times and played in six Pro Bowls. He was second-team All-NFC in 1976 when Humphrey unofficially

recorded a career-high 15 quarterback sacks. In 1980 Humphrey was a designated pass rusher, recording a team-high 14½ sacks helping the Eagles become NFC champions and earn a spot in Super Bowl XV. Humphrey finished his career with an unofficial 126 ½ career sacks with the Falcons and Eagles. Humphrey retired in 1981, the season before sacks were recorded as an official NFL statistic.

Humphrey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014 and was credited with 130 sacks, placing him 24th on the NFL’s career leader list, according to the Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Georgia Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Hall of Fame. TSU, his alma mater, retired his number and inducted him into their Hall of Fame. His high school also retired his jersey. Humphrey was a member of his high school Hall of Fame and a member of the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor. Humphrey was also a member of Phi Beta Sigma.

Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement, “The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Claude Humphrey. His humble spirit guided him on and off the field. Our thoughts and prayers are with Claude’s family during this difficult time. The Hall of Fame will forever guard his legacy. The Hall of Fame flag, outside the museum in Canton, Ohio, will be flown at half-staff in Claude’s memory.”The Hall of Fame flag , will be flown at half-staff in Humphrey’s honor, Porter added.

Humphrey is survived by three daughters, Claudia, Cherokee, and Cheyenne Humphrey-Robinson, who presented her father for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. 


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