Longtime Atlanta Falcons defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey has died at the age of 77.
Humphrey passed away on Friday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Saturday.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Claude Humphrey,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement. “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 will be flown at half-staff in Claude’s memory.”
Humphrey was selected third overall in the 1968 AFL-NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons out of Tennessee State and was 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 before retiring in 1981. 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.
“Known as a hard worker and a reliable teammate, Humphrey was always willing to help the team out wherever needed and knew success was achieved collectively,” Porter said.
Humphrey was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2014 and was credited with 130 sacks, placing him 24th on the NFL’s career leader list, according to the Hall of Fame.
“We are saddened by the passing of Claude Humphrey and send our prayers out for his family and friends in this difficult time,” said Arthur M. Blank, Atlanta Falcons’ owner and chairman.
“Claude made an indelible impression on so many from Memphis to the Falcons and across the NFL with his leadership and tenacious approach on the field. His Falcons legacy was cemented as a forever memory with induction into our Ring of Honor and he will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.”
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