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Atlanta Falcons great Tommy Nobis Jr. dies at 74

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Tommy Nobis Jr., a former five-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons who was affectionately known as "Mr. Falcon" died Wednesday after an extended illness. He was 74.

Nobis was one of the first great players in Falcons history. He became the Falcons' first-ever draft pick when he was selected first overall out of the University of Texas in 1966. He spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Falcons.

"On behalf of the Atlanta Falcons we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the great Tommy Nobis," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "Tommy's legacy began as the first Falcons player in team history, was built over 40 years with the organization and will live on for years to come in our Ring of Honor. 'Mr. Falcon' is rightfully beloved by generations of Falcons fans and we will always be grateful for his many contributions to our team and community."

Nobis, who was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981, recorded 296 tackles as a rookie with the Falcons -- a team record that still stands. He led the team in tackles nine times and had 11 career interceptions.

He retired from the NFL in 1976 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.

Nobis also was an inaugural member of the Falcons Ring of Honor in 2004.



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