By John Turney
|Atkins with Bears. Colorization by John Turney|
Atkins played in eight Pro Bowls and missed a ninth due to injury. In 1968 Atkins was having a monster year in his second season with the New Orleans Saints with 12-½ sacks when he broke his leg. He had been voted to the Pro Bowl for that
Little film remains from Atkins' season with the Cleveland Browns, but from what there is you can see Atkins
|Atkins with Browns. Colorization by John Turney|
Based on the number of sacks the Bears defense had, it is very likely, that Atkins was in double digits in sacks from 1957-1963. Pro Football Journal writer/researcher Nick Webster can confirm that from 1959-62 he had at least 9-½ sacks each season with a few games each seasons missing film or play-by-plays. My research shows 12 sacks in 1963, five in 1964, 8-½ in 1965 and 8 in 1966.
With the Saints his totals are 9-½ in 1967, 12-½ in 1968 and 8-½ in 1969, his final season. Sadly, too many missing games will likely never reveal Atkins true sack total, but through our research Webster and I can show 110-½ confirmed sacks, all but a few from 1957 on. Atkins consistency was very notable and part of that he credited to fellow Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti; said Atkins, "I talked to Gino at a Pro Bowl and was asking him for tips, and the first thing he told me is 'get rid of all that extra equipment'. I had been wearing high top shoes, large pads on my shoulders and in my pants and Gino convinced me to go with less, with less restriction and less for linemen to grab and it really helped my career from that point on".
Atkins was also famous for the aforementioned leap, where he'd hurdle a blocker in route to the quarterback.
|A Leaping Atkins in 1969. Colorization by John Turney|
Rest in Peace, Doug, err
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