Throughout Falcons history, the number 77 has been worn by a handful of players. As with most of the numbers in our series, there are quite a few names that illicit head scratching such as Ron East or Pellom McDaniels. The two names that do stick out are from two different eras of Falcons football, with the most notable being a name that most fans here will recognize.
From 1984 to 1993, Bryan - a DE/DT/NT/LB (yes, that is not a typo) - wore the number 77 for the birds. The 6'4" 265lb player out of Oklahoma was drafted #9 overall by the Falcons in the first round of the 1984 draft. Rick was an All-American while at Oklahoma and the Big Eight Defensive player of the year in 1982.
Bryan got off to a fantastic start with the Falcons, earning NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1984. He would go on to start 93 games over 9 seasons before a slew of injuries forced him into retirement. He is still 10th on the Falcons all-time sacks list and was known as a tough as nails player who often played through some very difficult injuries. He was a steady and solid player in what was a challenging stretch of Falcons football.
Coming out of Wake Forest as an undrafted free agent in 2004, Clabo would spend his first two years bouncing around the league making stops at Denver, New York and San Diego before finding a home in Atlanta in 2005. From 2006 to 2012, Clabo would don the number 77 in a very good stretch of football at right tackle - highlighted by a Pro Bowl appearance in 2010. In total, he would play with the Falcons for 7 years for a total of 101 starts.
Clabo was part of one of the best stretches of Falcons football in team history - from 2008 to 2012. In that time, he was a very good tackle who never received the proper acclaim for his play. During this stretch with the team, Clabo would register the following grades with Pro Football Focus: 2008: +22.4, 2009: +13.0, 2010: +16.5, 2011: +19.7, 2012: +15.9. That 5 year stretch of good and often great play gives Clabo the edge over Bryan in our uniform series.
What do you think of Clabo and Bryan?