Pass-rushing great Claude Humphrey, one of the most legendary figures in Atlanta Falcons history, has died at age 77.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame made the announcement Saturday morning that Humphrey had passed away on the night of Friday, Dec. 3.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Claude Humphrey," Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said. "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. 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 entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014 after having played 13 seasons in the NFL most notably with the Falcons (1968-1978) and then the Philadelphia Eagles (1979-1981). Humphrey played in Super Bowl XV with Philadelphia in the 1980 season.
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Humphrey, credited with 130 career sacks, is a member of the Falcons Ring of Honor and was also inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame (2012) and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (1988).
Humphrey was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1968 AFL/NFL Draft out of Tennessee State and proceeded to win AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with the Falcons. He earned first-team All-Pro honors two times and was selected to play in six Pro Bowls. Only Julio Jones has more Pro Bowl selections in Falcons history than Humphrey.
"We are saddened by the passing of Claude Humphrey and send our prayers out for his family and friends in this difficult time," said Falcons owner Arthur M Blank. "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."