Claude Humphrey, a Hall of Famer who was one of the best pass rushers in football throughout his 14-year career, has died at the age of 77.
After starring at Tennessee State, Humphrey went to the Falcons with the third overall pick in the 1968 NFL draft. He made an immediate impact and was chosen the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year that year.
Although sacks were not an official statistic while Humphrey was playing, research has shown that he had double-digit sacks in nine different seasons, the first in 1968 and the last in 1980. Only four players in NFL history have more 10-sack seasons than Humphrey: Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Kevin Greene and Julius Peppers.
Humphrey played the game with intensity, and may be best remembered for an incident in Super Bowl XV, when he was playing for the Eagles, and he responded to a roughing the passer penalty by picking up the flag and throwing it back at referee Ben Dreith.
Upon being selected to the Hall of Fame in 2014, Humphrey said, “I was aggressive, very aggressive. I tried to play the game to the point where when I walked off the field, there was nothing that I didn’t cover. I tried to play all out. I didn’t take any prisoners. I just tried to do my job.”