Height: 6' 8" Weight:275 lb
Born:May 8, 1930 in Humboldt, Tennessee
Years with Saints:1967–1969Background: A true mountain of a man, the stories about Atkins’ actions off the field are legendary but no more so than his play on the field. While the Saints got Atkins at the end of his career, he was nowhere near finished. He was still a dominant player. Atkins had played 14 seasons, including two with Cleveland and 12 with Chicago as a “Monster of the Midway” when he came to New Orleans in a trade to play for the expansion Saints. In 1968, Atkins fractured his kneecap and missed three games but was still named first-team all conference by the Sporting News. Atkins was able to return in 1969 and in his 17th and final season, a remarkable accomplishment in itself in the NFL, he was outstanding. He played in all 14 games for New Orleans in both 1967 and 1969. Had sacks been an official statistic when he played, Atkins would undoubtedly be in the top ten in NFL history. The Saints retired Atkins’ No. 81 after he retired. Greatest Moment: While Atkins was very good with the Saints, his greatest moment has to be reserved for his very last play. On the final play of his brilliant career, he sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Dick Shiner to preserve a thrilling 27-24 victory for the Saints. Honors: Atkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Saints Hall of Fame, the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. The NFL Network ranked him as the ninth best pass rusher in league history. He was a first-team All-Pro eight times in his career and was named to eight Pro Bowls.