The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 36 is tight end Alge Crumpler.
Years played for Falcons: Alge Crumpler was selected in the second round (35th overall) out of North Carolina in the 2001 NFL Draft. That draft proved to be a fruitful one for the Falcons and helped change the franchise forever as Michael Vick was drafted No. 1 overall by Atlanta. The two would play together from 2001-06, bringing some of the most electrifying years the franchise had ever seen. Crumpler lasted till 2007 in Atlanta before spending two seasons in Tennessee and ultimately retiring after the 2010 season which he spent in New England as a mentor to younger tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Jersey No.: 83
His impact on the team: While playing during Vick’s prime, Atlanta often would use Vick’s speed along with T.J. Duckett and Warrick Dunn to wear down opponents on the ground. But when Vick was in the pocket or making things happen, scrambling away from pressure, Crumpler was always there to present a safety blanket. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2003 when he caught 44 passes for 552 yards, the most for a Falcons tight end since Junior Miller went for 584 yards in 1980. Through 2006, Vick and Crumpler became an explosive connection as Crumpler caught 48 passes when the team played in the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles in 2004. He followed that with 65 catches the next year and corralled 56 receptions in ‘06. Over his time in Atlanta, Crumpler made two playoff appearances and helped the Falcons win their first division title (2004) since 1998. Upon Crumpler’s retirement after the 2010 season he finished with 373 catches in 10 seasons with 4,743 yards and 39 touchdowns. He immediately came back to Atlanta and could be heard as a sports’ talk host as well as a college television analyst.
On playing with Vick: “He was the most recognizable player in Atlanta, like Dominique Wilkins and Hank Aaron. He was a rock star. But he never seem that way in the locker room. It seemed that the locker room was his safe haven. On the field I would be running a route and turn and see Michael running. Those were fun times. It was the Michael Vick experience and I really thought we had enough to get beyond the NFC Championship Game in 2004."
On his season in New England: “That is the most fun I have ever had. To have the chance to play with Tom Brady, I just wish I would have still had some tread on my tires. The way Tom prepares, manages the game and leads is incredible. I am still dumbfounded that he was a late draft pick. I loved playing for the Falcons but I think I learned more in my 10th year more than I did in my first nine."
On new Falcons head coach Dan Quinn: “I enjoy watching him make real time adjustments and watching the team win when things are not perfect. He has figured out at the end of the day how to win games."
Where he is now: Crumpler, 37, lives in Suwannee and has been married to his college sweetheart Jennifer for 13 years. They have three daughters: Kendal (11), Ava (8) and Campbell (6). He is retired, spending time with his kids and driving his 42-foot RV to every North Carolina football home game. He also never misses a Falcons home game.
50: Chuck Smith
49: Michael Haynes
47: John Zook
46: Ken Reaves
45: Lynn Cain
44: Justin Blalock
43: Bobby Butler
42: Tim Mazzetti
41: Buddy Curry
40: Scott Case
39: Jeff Merrow
38: Elbert Shelley
37: Matt Bryant
36: Alge Crumpler
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