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Falcons Uniform History #33: Backs a Plenty

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From Cannonballs to Burners.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Quite a few players have donned the number 33 for the Falcons over the years, but there are only a few that are even worth mentioning - apologies to all of the hardcore Jerome King fans out there.

We start with Eric Pegram, a running back who wore the #33 for the Falcons between the 93 and 94 seasons. Pegram actually had a really strong 1993 season, rushing for over 1100 yards and 3TDs. In 1994, however, Pegram was supplanted by Craig Hayward and was gone from the club after that season.

Between the 2000 and 2002 seasons, fans may remember that Ashley Ambrose - a defensive back - wore the #33 for the Falcons. Ambrose was a decent DB, notching 12 INTs in the three years he was with the Falcons while starting every game for the Falcons during those years. Ambrose had a decent stretch with the club, but he's not our best player to ever wear the number.

During the stretch from 1968 to 1971, Fullback and Kick Returner Cannonball Butler donned the #33 for the Falcons. In his four years in Atlanta, he put up respectable numbers but is merely a footnote in Falcons history at this point - whose name stands out more than anything he did on the field.

All of that leaves us with one name: Michael Turner. When Turner joined the team in 2008, the franchise was in dire straits after the Vick arrest in 2007 and the scourge of humanity Bobby Petrino abandoned the team before the 07 season had even concluded. Turner was a bit of an unknown - a backup to LaDanian Tomlinson in San Diego -  who wasn't particularly fast, but appeared to be a hard runner and at the very least, a good goal line option.

When the 2008 season started, and the Falcons faced off against the Lions, we all quickly found out who Michael Turner was. Though most remember that fateful Ryan pass to Jenkins for a TD, it was Turner that dominated the day: rushing for 220 yards and 2TDs as a new era was ushered into the Georgia Dome. He would go on to finish the season with 376 carries for 1699 yards and a whopping 17TDs. Though injuries slowed him down in 2009, he would bounce back for 1371 and 1340 yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 respectively, before a new offense and wear & tear effectively ended his career after the 2012 season.

For the sheer impact he had between 08 and 11, and his role in helping to ease the transition of a young Matt Ryan into the NFL, Michael Turner is easily the greatest Falcon to have ever worn the number 33 on his back.