POSITION: Defensive end
BORN: May 8, 1930 in Humboldt, Tenn.
JOINED SAINTS: 1967
YEARS WITH SAINTS: 1967–1969
Doug Atkins' career background
In 1982, a dominant career as a defensive end was capped when Doug Atkins was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. His election to the Hall was a testament to his illustrious career full of distinct honors at the college and professional level.
Atkins joined the Saints in their inaugural season in a trade from the Chicago Bears. The 6-foot-8, 275-pound "Monster of the Midway" brought 14 years of experience to a fresh New Orleans franchise, including two with the Browns and 12 with the Bears, where he earned first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors four years and was selected as a Pro Bowl starter for eight of his last nine years in the Windy City.
Though he spent only three years in New Orleans before retiring, the Humboldt, Tenn., native made a tremendous impact. He played in 39 games for the Black and Gold with 36 starts and though defensive statistics were not tracked when he played, he would undoubtedly be in NFL record books for career sacks. In 1968, at 38 years old, Atkins was selected as a second-team All-Pro. In fact, on the final play of his NFL career, Atkins sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Dick Shiner to seal the 27-24 New Orleans victory.
After retiring from the NFL following the 1969 season, Atkins played a minor acting role in a film called "Breakheart Pass" and worked in various jobs. He died at the age of 85 on Dec. 30, 2015 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Doug Atkins' college career
Prior to the NFL, Atkins was equally as prolific in college sports as a football, track and basketball star for the University of Tennessee. Recruited initially for basketball, once the Volunteers football coach saw his size and agility, he was convinced to play for the football team. During his time at Tennessee, he was a part of the 1951 National Championship team and earned All-America honors in 1952. Recognized as one of the most dominant defensive players in SEC history, Atkins became the only unanimous selection to the SEC All Quarter-Century team from 1950-1975 and was named the SEC Player of the Quarter-Century. Atkins' number was retired by the Volunteers in 2005, making him one of only eight football players in University of Tennessee history to have their jersey retired.
Doug Atkins' career honors
Pro Football Hall of Fame
1954 NFL Champion
1963 NFL Champion
1st Team All-Pro – 1963
2nd Team All-Pro – 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1968
Pro Bowl – 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965
NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
100 greatest Bears of All-Time
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame