The best Falcons player to ever wear the number 55 was a pretty clear and easy choice. Defensive end John Abraham takes the honor.
While there have been several former Falcons to wear 55, Abraham's impact on the Falcons over his seven seasons in Atlanta was significantly greater than any other player to wear this number in franchise history. Abraham had 68.5 sacks for a total of 463 yards during his time in Atlanta, as well as 20 pass deflections and one interception. Abraham had a nose for the ball, also, with 25 forced fumbles as a Falcon.
Abraham's performance during his Falcons career puts him second in franchise history for career sacks, behind Claude Humphrey, and his 463 sack yards are good for second in team history behind Humphrey, also. Abraham's 16.5 sacks during the 2008 season are the best single-season total in franchise history, and his 108.5 sack yards in 2008 place him third in team history for single-season total sack yards.
If you need further evidence that Abraham is the best player in Falcons history to wear the number 55, take a look at the team's pass rush since Abraham was released and subsequently signed with the Arizona Cardinals. He has been greatly missed.
Ralph Ortega, a middle linebacker in the mid-1970s, had one really solid season for Atlanta in 1977 while wearing number 55. Ortega had four picks and five fumble recoveries that season. Outside of that year, though, he didn't have much impact, with just one fumble recovery in 1975 and one in 1978.
Current middle linebacker and fan favorite Paul Worrilow has put together an impressive career while wearing number 55, going from undrafted free agent to a starter and defensive leader in a very short time. Worrilow has 142 tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles over the past two seasons. Aside from Falcons legend Jessie Tuggle, Worrilow is the only player to record 15 or more tackles twice in the same season.
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