As we wind down our uniform history series, we get to a number that was really, really forgettable. As my title stated, , we now take a look at two players who were supposed to be a determining factor for the Atlanta Falcons defensive line. Both would flop and leave fans with many terrible memories of the two players, unfortunately.
Let's review the two most memorable players to wear the jersey number #93.
Aundray Bruce: (1988-1991)
Where do we begin? Bruce came out of Auburn with the weight of expectations heavy across his shoulders after taking the nation by storm in 1986 and 1987, finishing with all Southeastern Conference honors and earning the All-American title as well during his 1987 season in Auburn. In a nationally-televised game in 1987 against Georgia Tech, Bruce intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown, recording 10 unassisted tackles. Entering the NFL Draft, he was saddled with expectations of becoming the next Lawrence Taylor, though once drafted was described as "unquestionably the least heralded No. 1 draft choice this decade."
Atlanta had the worst record in 1987 and seemed to be in the perfect spot to take the "can't miss prospect," and Bruce became the Falcons first overall selection in the 1988 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Bruce started every game and recorded six sacks ,despite another forgettable season of Falcons football. That would be his last productive season as a Falcon.
The organization was critical of him for not learning the system at times, and there were rumors he couldn't understand the playbook. After the 1989 season, Bruce didn't start many games in his remaining tenure and even saw snaps at tight end during his final two seasons as well. The Falcons and Bruce parted ways after the 1991 season, and although he was a productive member of Oakland's defense for the remainder of his career, the hype that surrounded Bruce never matched his play around the league, especially in Atlanta. Bruce finished his Falcons tenure with 137 tackles, 16 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions.
Ray Edwards: (2011-2012)
Ray Edwards..... Ray Edwards.....Ray Edwards.
In order to understand how much of a disaster he was in his Falcons tenure, let's rewind to the 2011 off-season. After the ugly home playoff loss against the Green Bay Packers in 2010, the Falcons were desperate to address the pass rush, because John Abraham needed a solid sidekick in order to continue his solid impact for the Falcons defense. The Falcons were aggressive in the 2011 NFL off-season, and continued to be late in the summer by acquiring Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards.
At the time, the Edwards move was considered one of the final pieces towards the Falcons going to the Super Bowl in the 2011 season. Edwards was coming off a pretty solid 2010 season on the Vikings defensive line posting 8 sacks and 37 tackles. Granted, he was on a defensive line that featured Jared Allen and the Williams brothers in their prime, which helped Edwards raise his stock heading free agency. Edwards would capitalize by landing a five-year, $27.5 million contract from the Atlanta Falcons.
At the time, many fans (including myself) were excited to consider the potential of a Falcons defense that was decent but needed at least one more impact player to become one of the elite teams in the NFC. The excitement for Ray Edwards ended quickly as he posted (3.5) sacks and (33) tackles throughout the entire season, a major flop for the Falcons defensive line. As he entered his final season in Atlanta, Edwards earned the "bad locker room guy" title, and if we thought Edwards would have a rebound 2012 campaign, we were wrong.
The Falcons got off to a great start in the 2012 season; however, Ray Edwards had absolutely nothing to do with the success. After an 8-1 start, the Falcons stunned everyone and released Edwards. After the release, he went on to work out for the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in December, but failed to land an offer. When no NFL teams came calling in March, Edwards realized and disputed his "bad locker room guy" label.
Sadly, I can't decide which of the two players were considered the best player to wear the #93 jersey during their tenure in Atlanta, their impact didn't compare to the excitement that both players brought to the organization when they were acquired. There were a few more players who wore the jersey number, as well and didn't make much of an impact. Malliciah Goodman currently owns it.
Dan Owens . . . . . . . . . . 1996-97
Shawn Swayda . . . . . . . 1998-01
Sam Rogers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2002
Raymond House . . . . . . . . . 2003
Junior Glymph . . . . . . . 2004-05
Tim Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . 2007
Thomas Johnson . . . . . 2009-10
Malliciah Goodman . . . . 2013-14
Which Falcons player would you say was our best in franchise history to sport the #93 jersey?
Editor's Note: I'd take Bruce, but with deep regrets in my soul.