Video: Doleman to be enshrined in Canton today


FLOWERY BRANCH –For the second year in a row, a player with ties to the Atlanta Falcons will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former Falcons defensive end Chris Doleman, who played two seasons (1994-95) for the franchise, will be enshrined Saturday in Canton, Ohio.

“I’m extremely proud of the time that I spent in Atlanta,” said Doleman, who enjoyed playing with quarterback Jeff George, cornerback D.J. Johnson and safety Kevin Ross. “We were part of a group that came in and got them to the playoffs. For that moment, we accomplished something that they hadn’t accomplished [once before] in almost a decade.”

Doleman will join cornerback Deion Sanders, running back Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald as the only Falcons in Canton. Dickerson played briefly for the Falcons during the 1993 season. McDonald, who was a member of the 1967 squad, played just one season for the Falcons. Sanders (1989-93) is the only player drafted by the Falcons in the Hall of Fame.

Linebacker Tommy Nobis and defensive end Claude Humphrey are the two other Falcons who have received major Hall of Fame consideration. Nobis (1966-76) has been among the preliminary nominees five times and has been considered by the senior committee on 10 occasions, according to Joe Horrigan of

Chris Doleman played for the Atlanta Falcons from 1994-1995.   (AJC File photo)

Chris Doleman played for the Atlanta Falcons from 1994-1995. (AJC File photo)

the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Humphrey (1968-78) has had four opportunities; three as a modern-day finalist and one as a nominee of the Hall’s senior committee.

June Jones was the Falcons head coach during Doleman’s two seasons. The 1995 team was only the fifth Falcons team to reach the playoffs. They were 9-7 and were defeated 37-20 by the Green Bay Packers in a wildcard game on Dec. 31, 1995.

The Falcons also reached the playoffs in 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1991.

“In 1994 we traded for Chris Doleman from the Minnesota Vikings,” Jones wrote in an e-mail to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When Kenny Herock made the trade, we knew that he would give us leadership and respect around the entire NFL; which Atlanta had not had since I was there as a player with Leeman Bennett. He did not disappoint us.”

Doleman played the previous 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, terrorizing quarterback in the old Black & Blue NFC Central. After his Atlanta stint, Doleman played three years in San Francisco before ending his career back in Minnesota for one season.

“He fought through some injuries and Chris gave us leadership in the locker room, 16 sacks over two years, and played his way to the Pro Bowl,” Jones wrote. “He played the game at the highest level. He taught our young guys what it took to be the best by showing us his work ethic.”

Chris Doleman here with the Minnesota Vikings. He played two seasons (1994-95) with the Falcons. (Associated Press)

Chris Doleman here with the Minnesota Vikings. He played two seasons (1994-95) with the Falcons. (Associated Press)

All wasn’t perfect during Doleman’s stay with the Falcons.

“The problems with that team was that we just didn’t have enough players or the players that we had, they didn’t have the right attitude,” Doleman said.

His trek to Canton, Ohio started on the Pop Warner fields of York, Pa. where he first played as an 8-year-old for the York Boys Club.

He starred at Pittsburgh and was drafted by the Vikings fourth overall in the 1985 NFL draft.

He registered only 3.5 sacks in his first two seasons, while playing outside linebacker.

“Floyd Peters came into Minnesota and we were trying to make a run for the playoffs and he asked me could I play on the defensive line,” Doleman said.

He went on to get 147 sacks over the next 13 seasons. But his trademark move was the sack-strip. He forced 44 fumbles and recovered 24.

“When I went to the defensive line position, it allowed me to define how I wanted to be perceived as a pass rusher,” Doleman said.

Instead of concentrating on putting a big hit on the quarterback, Doleman focused on getting the ball back for his team.

“That’s a much bigger play,” Doleman said. “That was always my thing.”

Doleman is most fond of his days in Minnesota and felt that going up against tackle Gary Zimmerman in practice made him better. Zimmerman was inducted to the Hall of Fame is 2008.

He also credited coaches Bud Grant, Bill Walsh, Paul Wiggins, John Teerlinck, Tony Dungy, and Peters with helping his career.

“All of these guys were instrumental people, not only on the field, but in my life,” Doleman said.

He will be presented by his son, Evan, who’s 22 years old.

“The thing I cherished the most about the NFL was that my kids actually had a chance to see me play,” Doleman said. “They know exactly what I did and know my impact on the game.”

Even though Doleman’s stay with the Falcons was brief, Jones will take pride in seeing him wear his yellow jacket and stand in front of his bust.

“He was the consummate pro,” Jones wrote.

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43 comments Add your comment

Duce88

August 2nd, 2012
2:44 pm

First! Congrats Chris

Duce88

August 2nd, 2012
2:46 pm

C’mon man, one can hardly consider himself a fan of this sport if they seriously don’t know who Chris Doleman is…..

to real

August 2nd, 2012
3:41 pm

Its good to se another guy go in the hall as a falcon I hope he isnt da last guy to wear dat #56 as a member of da falcons to be a HOF player many ppl dont know who this guy is dat doesnt matter tha ppl dat vote know dats a matters

Chris Doleman

August 2nd, 2012
3:49 pm

Seen This B4…………….Who the heck are you ?

ctfalconsfan

August 2nd, 2012
4:01 pm

DOL???? The 1995 Team was the 5TH Falcon Play off team, not the 4th..
You must not have included the 1982 team?
78.80,82,91 and then 95…

GT in GoldTown

August 2nd, 2012
4:03 pm

We won’t have a Falcon in Canton till we send someone who spent most of their years in the ATL. I’m tired of counting players as “Falcons” we rented the for, in this case, 2 seasons.

Falconfever

August 2nd, 2012
4:19 pm

GT do you consider Tony G as rented? I don’t he is a Falcon… As much a Falcon now as he was a Chief fro all those years… And Doleman was the way. While he was here he was a Falcon… Bleeding the Red and Black with the rest of the team

Rampdawg

August 2nd, 2012
4:26 pm

When are they going to quit wearing blinders and enshrine Tommy Nobis? What other defensive player had over 20 tackles per game in one season. No one.

TCBnATL

August 2nd, 2012
4:26 pm

Still can’t figure out how Tommy Nobis is not in the HOF…the guy was a monster on some really, really weak teams. If he had played for any of the more successful franchises, he’d have been inducted decades ago. Just a shame.

Rampdawg

August 2nd, 2012
4:29 pm

294 TACKLES IN A 14GAME SEASON. AS A ROOKIE.
Tommy Nobis

Tommy Nobis was one of the most prolific linebackers in the history of the NFL. Below is a recap of his incredible career and life after football.

Career Recap:
Was the first ever player drafted by the Atlanta Falcons organization in the inaugural 1966 season. Tommy quickly became the first ever Falcon voted to the Pro Bowl.
“Mr. Falcon” led the team in tackles in nine of his 11 seasons, earning five trips to the Pro Bowl.
After his 46th consecutive NFL game, he underwent knee surgery in 1969 and on the other knee in 1971. Known for his toughness, Nobis came back from both surgeries to earn another Pro Bowl spot in 1972.
In a poll conducted in 1970 by ABC to pick the best athlete of the decade of the 1960s, running back O.J. Simpson was number one, and Tommy Nobis was number two in the entire country.
Tommy had an astronomical 294 total combined tackles as a rookie, still the team’s club record.
Tommy also intercepted 11 passes during his professional career, returning two for touchdowns, and getting fined $100 each time for throwing the ball into the stands.
His uniform #60 was the first one the Falcons ever retired and it’s been worn by only him during the team’s 45 years.

Awards:
Five Pro Bowls: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1972.
NFL Rookie of the Year in 1966.
Voted into the Hall of Fame of the National Collegiate Football Foundation, the State of Texas Hall of Fame and the State of Georgia Hall of Fame.
Named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Century Team (1869-1969).
Won both the Outland and Maxwell Trophy as best college player.

College Career:

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 2nd, 2012
5:31 pm

ctfalconsfan – Yep, I missed 1982.

jgsbirds

August 2nd, 2012
5:48 pm

i liked doleman a lot the first year he was in atlanta. i thought his numbers dropped off a little in his second year…but he could’ve been injured. the ‘95 team was pretty solid. that packer playoff loss was much closer than the score indicated. i think that was the game where they returned a punt for a score and a kickoff. i may be wrong but i think it was antonio freeman.

congrats doleman!

SeenThis B4

August 2nd, 2012
6:07 pm

Yeah, I was first, but the second post up there was one of you falcan’t fans posing as me….I bet it was you huh Michael M…..it’s your style.

By the way, yeah, I know who Chris Doleman is, BUT he’s not going into the Hall as a falcan’t, he’s going into the Hall on his own. He won’t be wearing your team colors, or any team’s colors, he’ll be wearing the same gold jacket the other inductees are wearing.

SCFalcon

August 2nd, 2012
6:26 pm

It is a crime that Nobis is not in the Hall of Fame. The politics of the Falcons not being a winning franchise……..

lol

August 2nd, 2012
6:33 pm

Millermoose

August 2nd, 2012
7:13 pm

Chris Doleman in the Hall of Fame ? Are you serious ? It used to be that you actually had to earn your way into the Hall and when the names of those in it were rattled off, you immediately said to yourself, Yeah, he was great. How’s voting for these guys ?

First time Season Tix Holder

August 2nd, 2012
7:19 pm

Enter your comments here

First time Season Tix Holder

August 2nd, 2012
7:20 pm

Sorry…..Didn’t mean to post

kbb

August 2nd, 2012
8:02 pm

We are really reaching on this one. Chris Doleman barely had a cup of coffee as Atlanta Falcon.

BIG MIKE

August 2nd, 2012
8:58 pm

How the he!! can Chris Doleman get into the Hall before three of the best defensive players I’ve ever seen play the game…..Claude Humphrey, Tommy Nobus and John Zook. Absolutely the class of defensive football. If they had played for a contender vice an expansion team of the 60′-70’s, they would have been shoo ins. As it is, they are the main reasons the Gritz Blitz worked and are responsible for a defense that allowed the fewest points in a season….in pro football history.

Mike Franklin

August 2nd, 2012
9:41 pm

The NFL hates the Atlanta franchise… but, that’s okay because we don’t need a kiss on the cheek to play this game.

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 3rd, 2012
12:05 am

Millermoose — There are 44 selectors. (I’m one of them and I am proud to say I voted for Mr. Doleman.)

Dirty Birds Bringin' It!

August 3rd, 2012
12:26 am

So we had another linebacker by the name of Keith Brooking that had a couple of dogs. One he named Butkus and the other was Nobis. In my book, from one LB to another, naming man’s best friend after these two greats is the ultimate compliment. I hope we see Mr. Nobis make the Hall one day – he is definitely deserving of such an honor.

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

I usually just read but....

August 3rd, 2012
8:41 am

These stories really strike a nerve with me.
Chris Doleman:1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Great player and a good man. Falcon? I don’t think so. He was and always will be a Viking. We(Falcons) are the “Old Folks Home” of the NFL, signing good but mostly spent players for 2yr contracts to pad their 401k’s when we should be spending the time and money to find and develope our own young players. Young, agile and quick will out perform most of these OLD players.
I wonder, if Lofa Tatupu makes the HoF will it be the “Falcon” Lofa Tatupu? Do you think that corner from Philly is gonna play like he did with the Patriots? I hope so, but doubt it unless he gets that Fountain of Youth map from that short guy on the FedEx comercial. The Falcons have been my dog since ‘65, Why in_he dbl l_ are we so cap tight with the players we have? Drafting people that are injury prone and projected to go lower than where we picked them and signing old guys. It’s that simple. Name me one of these old timers Falcons have signed that have really made an impact.

BIG MIKE

August 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

ONE PLAYER———-BILLY ‘WHITE SHOES’ JOHNSON

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Doleman to be enshrined in Canton “I'm extremely proud of the time that I spent in Atlanta,” said Doleman, who enjoyed playing with quarterback Jeff George, cornerback D.J. Johnson and safety Kevin Ross. “We were part of a group that came in and got them to the playoffs. For that … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

hiramsaint

August 4th, 2012
3:41 pm

just like the failclowns to take credit for things happening in the last century, like the superbowl debacle. i wonder if doleman even remembers those two seasons !

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

Statick

August 6th, 2012
8:45 am

How in the hell did Curtis Martin make the Hall? Heck, how did ANY of those guys make the Hall? Roaf? Really? Doleman? Really? GTFOH.

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]

[...] Former Falcon Chris Doleman to be enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame [...]