Hey, Falcoholics, I’m back with another edition of The Falcoholic’s Throwback Thursday series. This weekly segment highlights a former Atlanta Falcons player and discusses their life and what they did for the franchise.
Whether you’ve been a fan since the inaugural season, or just became a fan recently, this series will give insight on players from the past. This week we will be focusing on tight end Alge Crumpler.
Algernon Darius Crumpler was born on Dec. 23, 1977 in Greenville, North Carolina. Crumpler attended New Hanover High School in Wilmington, where he was a letterman in track and football. He played tight end and linebacker, and was an All-Midwest 4-A Conference selection his senior year. Additionally, he was a three-time state champion in the discus, and won a state championship in the shot put in 1996.
Alge Crumpler attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Alge was named to the All-ACC first team three times, and finished second in All-American voting his senior season. In all, he totaled 68 receptions, 760 yards, five touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown for the Tar Heels.
With the 35th overall pick in 2001 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Alge Crumpler. If that draft sounds familiar, it’s because quarterback Michael Vick was selected with the first overall pick by the Falcons that year. Vick and Crumpler would help change the franchise forever during their time in Atlanta from 2001 through 2006, setting up some terrific memories for fans.
Alge Crumpler’s first career start came against the Carolina Panthers, where he had two receptions for 13 yards. The first touchdown of his career came a few weeks later against the New Orleans Saints. He would go on to finish his rookie season with 25 receptions, 330 yards and three touchdowns. The following year was decent for Crumpler; he started only 9 games and recorded 36 receptions, 455 yards and five touchdowns.
2003 would begin the best years of Alge Crumpler’s career, as he would be selected to his first ever Pro Bowl. He started every game that season and had 44 catches for 552 yards and three touchdowns. Crumpler would again make the Pro Bowl in 2004, and the Falcons would make the NFC Championship. Unfortunately, they went on to lose the game to the Philadelphia Eagles. Crumpler finished the season with 48 catches, 774 yards and six touchdowns.
In 2005, Crumpler returned to start 16 games for the Falcons. It would mark his third straight season of being selected to the prestigious Pro Bowl. He finished the season with a career-high 65 receptions for 877 yards and five touchdowns. In 2006, for the fourth and final time of his NFL career, Crumpler would be selected to the Pro Bowl. He finished that season with a career-best eight touchdowns. 2007 would be Crumpler’s final season with the Falcons. He finished the season with 42 receptions, 444 yards and five touchdowns. The NFL fined Crumpler later that season for wearing black eye strips during a Monday Night Football which had “MV” and “7” written on them – in support of Michael Vick, who was dealing with the fallout from his dogfighting arrest and conviction.
On Feb. 15, 2008, the Falcons released Alge Crumpler.
In 2008, Alge Crumpler signed with the Tennessee Titans. He started 15 games in his first season with the team, having 24 receptions, 257 yards and one touchdown. In the divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, Crumpler unfortunately fumbled after a reception from quarterback Kerry Collins on the Ravens’ 5-yard line, which led to a Ravens victory. Crumpler played in all 16 games for the Titans in 2009, finishing with 27 receptions, 222 yards and one touchdown.
After two seasons in Tennessee, Crumpler signed with the New England Patriots in 2010. In week 6, Alge was named an offensive captain and head coach Bill Belichick spoke highly of Crumpler:
”He’s very professional,” Belichick said. “Alge’s really smart. He’s into football. He works hard at it. He has a great presence.”
Crumpler finished the 2010 season with six receptions, 52 yards and two touchdowns in ten starts for the Patriots. On July 29, 2011, the Patriots released Alge Crumpler.
Alge Crumpler finished his career with a combined 373 receptions, 4,743 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Alongside Michael Vick, Warrick Dunn, and T.J. Duckett, Alge Crumpler was a crucial part of the Falcons’ electric offensive attack. While the exciting “DVD” tandem was busy doing their thing, if Vick needed a reliable target, Crumpler was always there. In Atlanta, Crumpler had two playoff appearances and helped the Falcons win their first division title since 1998. Following his retirement, Crumpler returned to Atlanta and has been a sports talk host as well as a college television analyst.
Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite Alge Crumpler memories. As always, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. Additionally, make sure to follow @The_Falcoholic on Instagram for up-to-date news and information. Thanks for reading, Falcoholics.