Top 50 Falcons: No. 29, Greg Brezina

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 29 linebacker is Greg Brezina.

Years played for Falcons: The Falcons selected Greg Brezina out of Houston in the 11th round of the 1968 NFL Draft. The 275th overall pick played 11 seasons with Atlanta and appeared in 151 games. He and his five brothers all played football at the University of Houston, an NCAA Division I Record.

Jersey No.: 50

Falcons linebacker Greg Brezina (50) is there to clean up San Francisco 49ers running back Bob Ferrell, who is tripped up coming through the line of scrimmage in 1978. (AJC)

His impact on the team: Brezina became a familiar face in the 1970’s for Falcon fans. His steady play finally paid off as Atlanta made the playoffs for the first time in 1978. He was a 1969 Pro Bowl selection after recording five fumble recoveries. He was a member of the 1977 “Gritz Blitz" defense, which gave up the fewest points (129) in NFL history for a 14-game schedule. The Falcons had given up 312 points the previous season. Over his career Brezina finished with 12 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries from his linebacker position. A neck injury forced him to cut his career short in order to not sustain life-long damage.

On the Gritz Blitz: “We played together as a team that year. That was one of the highlights of my career, just being a member of that team. We played together in unison. It was like a harmony. It was like Three Musketeers, ‘all for one and one for all.’ ”

On what the highlight of his career (getting married) was: “The chapel service out in L.A., that would be the number one highlight of my career [Brezina and his wife almost divorced in ’71 before Greg went to chapel service with teammate Don Hansen and found God, thus saving his marriage].

On his retirement: “It was a great career. I injured my neck in my 12th year so the orthopedic doctor told me to retire and my neck would get better.”

Where he is now: Brezina is 69 and is still deeply rooted in his faith. He and his wife, Connie, founded Christian Families Today, a Christian counseling and training ministry located in Newnan, Ga. They have been involved in Christian ministry for 35 years.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

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

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

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