(Writer's Note: Apologies in advance, as this will not have the usual depth of my number articles. I admittedly forgot about the post until the night before and I had to be up at 2:30 for work this morning. It's currently 7:10 and I have to sleep. I'll make it up to you!)
We're almost a third of the way there and at train station #32, we find ourselves with a trio of notable running backs and a defensive back. Without further ado, let me start with the more somber news.
Ray Easterling was a damn good Falcon. Some of our longtime readers will remember him as the free safety that held down the fort of the Gritz Blitz defense in 1977. But let me pause that conversation and take you to another one; one that was instrumental in starting the now-much-more-hyped train of studying NFL player's brains.
In April of 2012, Ray Easterling was found dead of an apparent suicide. Like Dave Duerson before him, Easterling's brain was sent to a lab for study; a study that would ultimately reflect that Easterling also showed signs of CTE. The entirety of the CTE acronym is not important; just know that his head took a bunch of hits and slowly decayed.
You can read this post from the New York Times for more information on his case. It pains me to read that Ray himself suspected his mental state came from poorly handled concussions.
With that, let me transition to the clear winner of #32...
Ah yes, the Jamal with 1 A. This Jamal Anderson was much more useful for the Falcons. At one point JAM held the single season record for most carries in the regular season in 1998 (410), though in 2006 that record was broken by Larry Johnson (416). Fun fact, Pro Football Reference gave JAM a 19 AV score for that year. 19! For comparison, Adrian Peterson's post-ACL 2,000 yard season also gathered a 19. Think JAM was important that year?
For his career, Anderson accrued 5,336 yards, good for 5th on the all-time Falcons list. This includes 4 seasons where he barely did anything (the knee injuries). One could argue he was the best running back ever to wear the red and black, though I think we all know which RB is most deserving of that award. (Hint: He was featured yesterday).
There were two more major contributors to #32. First, one of my all time favorite Falcon moments:
Let's dig through time, shall we?
Ah yes, we're back in 2008. It's been quite a joyous ride for our Atlanta Falcons. We just put a whoopin' on the Oakland Raiders the week before, and now we face our dreaded rival, the Aints.
The Aints think they can stop us?
That right there is one of my favorite plays of all time. I miss Jerious Norwood, he was a lightning bolt that just couldn't stay healthy.
His career wasn't all that special. He never had more than 700 yards rushing in a year, and despite his blazing speed, he never had a kickoff return for a TD. All that said, he had a 92 yard KO return in 2008. He must've gotten run down from behind. For shame!
Let's move on to the last of the big four contributors, and it's a name you might recognize.
Ah yes, who could forget Quizz. In truth, he should probably still be a Falcon, but he's not, so we'll have to deal with it.
Quizz was the mighty mite who provided us with several jaw dropping moves, including that one run against the Seahawks in 2012 that none of us will ever forget (nor will Earl Thomas).
Quizz was known more for his sense of balance and extreme acceleration rather than a top speed. With his acceleration, he always made it to the 20 when he ran kicks out of the end zone. He was never a threat to score, but those yards past the 20 add up.
For his career, Quizz had roughly 1100 yards rushing and roughly 1100 yards receiving. Pretty wild that his stats with us almost evened out in the running and passing game! He had 10 TDs combined with us too. He wasn't anything special, but he gave us some special plays. Best of luck in Chicago, Quizz.
Rather than give depth on all the players to wear 32, I'll list them since most of the others did literally nothing.
- Charlie Bryant
- Grady Cavness
- Tracey Eaton
- Norm Granger
- Steve Griffin
- Rudy Johnson (not the...running back?)
- Tod McBride
- Preston Ridlehuber (great name)
- Philip Sylvester
- Tim Tyrrell
- Tony Zackery