Top 50 Falcons: No. 20, John Abraham

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 20 is defensive end John Abraham.

Years played for Falcons: During his seven seasons in Atlanta from 2006-12, John Abraham oversaw the culture change from the Falcons being a middling franchise to becoming one of the winningest over a five-year span. He recorded 68.5 sacks over his time in Atlanta and the club hasn’t produced a double-digit sack artist since Abraham collected 10 in 2012 and was released after the season.

Defensive end John Abraham recorded 68.5 sacks over his time in Atlanta. (AJC File)

Jersey No.: 55

His impact on the team: John Abraham is the last great pass rusher the Falcons have showcased. From 2008-12, Atlanta’s winningest stretch which saw the team finish 56-26 with four playoff appearances and two division titles, Abraham was the face of the defense. He made five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams over his career with one Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections coming while in Atlanta. Abraham is the official all-time sack leader in Atlanta, as the greats such as Claude Humphrey and others didn’t have sacks officially counted when they played. During his last three seasons with the Falcons before being cut as a 34-year-old, Atlanta ranked in the top five twice in defense. Since releasing him, they have not finished in the top 10 in three years. Abraham garnered Pro Bowl honors in his first season with Arizona in 2013, but saw his season cut short after one game in 2014 after a serious concussion left him with memory loss. He currently is a free agent and has not officially retired yet, though it seems his chances of playing in the NFL again are slim to none.

On his ability to stay effective deep into his career (NFL network): “I’m blessed. I could say how my work ethic is, and this and this, but missing over 30 some games in my career which is pretty much two years of football and still being able to come back and play, it’s a blessing.”

Where he is now: Abraham, 37, is out of the NFL and has dealt with some run-ins with the law. In February of this year he faced misdemeanor charges after inciting a brawl at the Pink Pony strip club in Brookhaven. He was released on $500 bond. In 2014 when he was still playing in Arizona, he faced DUI charges and was jailed and later released on June 24.

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

28: Chris Miller

27: John James

26: Bob Whitfield

25: Rolland Lawrence

24: Alfred Jenkins

23: Billy Johnson

22: Chris Chandler

21: Morten Andersen

20: John Abraham

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