Atlanta Falcons: All-Time Team

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Sep 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of gold fifty yard line numbers after a game between the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome. The Ravens defeated the Falcons 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back: William Andrews (1979-83, 1986)

William Andrews’ NFL career was as bright as it was short with the Atlanta Falcons. The 3rd round pick out of Auburn in the 1979 NFL Draft made it to four straight Pro Bowls (1980-83) before a gruesome knee injury brought his promising career to a halt at 28 years old. He tried to make a comeback in 1986 as a 31-year old, but was no longer the same explosive player he once was.

Andrews in 1981 led the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,036. He rushed for over 1,000 yard four times, finishing with 5,986 career rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns. Andrews was also a great receiving threat out of the backfield with 277 career receptions for 2,647 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions.

William Andrews is 3rd all-time in career rushing yards in Atlanta behind Gerald Riggs (6,631) and Michael Turner (6,081). His numbers still stand up in the franchise ranks nearly 30 years since his last carry in the NFL. For a four-year stretch in the early 1980s, William Andrews was arguably the best running back in the National Football League.

Falcons fans remember Andrews for his explosiveness and dynamic playmaking ability, as much as what could have been had he not sustained a devastating knee injury in the 1984 preseason. Had he have had maybe three more years of Pro Bowl caliber play, he may have ended up in Canton as a 10,000 career rusher. Andrews’ ability to both run and receive make him the ideal running back in this all-time Atlanta Falcons offense.

Next: Wide Receiver