WATCH: Remembering Atlanta Falcons No. 26 Billy Lothridge
The Atlanta Falcons will begin the 2019 regular season exactly 26 days from Tuesday. With that in mind, let's look back in franchise history at one of the most successful players to wear No. 26 for the Falcons -- punter Billy Lothridge.
Lothridge actually began his career as a draft pick in both the NFL and AFL in 1964. He played for the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams in 1964 and 1965, respectively, but when the Falcons became an expansion franchise in 1966, Lothridge became the team's first punter.
He punted for four teams in his career, but the only team he spent more than one season with was the Falcons. Lothridge punted in Atlanta from 1965-71 and led the league in punt yardage twice.
Of course, that's not necessarily the category a team wants to see their punter lead in because it also means the team is punting a lot. Lothridge led the NFL in total punts and punt yardage in 1967, but then in 1968, he was first in punt yardage and yards per punt.
Lothridge finished his career with the Miami Dolphins as part of the team's undefeated season in 1972.