Jessie Tuggle

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Jessie Tuggle
No. 58
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1965-04-04) April 4, 1965 (age 52)
Place of birth: Griffin, Georgia
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
College: Valdosta State
Undrafted: 1987
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Tackles: 1,809
Sacks: 21.0
Interceptions: 6
Player stats at

Jessie Lloyd Tuggle, Jr.[1] (born April 4, 1965) is a former professional American football linebacker who played for the Atlanta Falcons his entire career from 1987 to 2000. He graduated from Valdosta State College in Valdosta, Georgia. He appeared in the Pro Bowl five times, and played in Super Bowl XXXIII. His nickname is "The Hammer," because of the impact of his tackles.

Early years[edit]

Tuggle played at Griffin High School, where he experienced success playing football. He received two Division II scholarship offers.[2]

Taking a scholarship at Valdosta State University,[3] Tuggle played four years and finished with a school-record 340 tackles. He was a three-time All-Gulf South Conference selection and his No. 88 was retired less than a decade after Tuggle left.[4]

In 2007, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career[edit]

After going undrafted out of Valdosta State, Tuggle signed with the Falcons through a chance encounter. During training camp, myriad injuries at linebacker gave Tuggle playing time and a shot at making the roster (which he did). [5]

After being a role player his rookie season, he recorded 108 tackles by virtue of eight starts. Becoming a bona fide star on the Atlanta defense, marked by the 1989-1993 period in which Tuggle racked up 969 tackles. During that stretch, he made his first Pro Bowl appearance in 1992.[5] Even while the Falcons languished, Tuggle never thought of leaving in free agency, even when he would meet former teammates like Brett Favre.[6]

After being with the Falcons through some tough years,[7] the high point in Tuggle's career was 1998, when he played in Super Bowl XXXIII and was voted to the Pro Bowl.[8]

Tuggle retired during training camp in 2001 after injuries plagued the end of his career.[9]

In his 14 seasons, he recorded 1640 tackles (164 assisted), 21 sacks, 6 interceptions, which he returned for 106 yards and a touchdown, 10 forced fumbles and 37 pass deflections. He also recovered 10 fumbles, returning them for 155 yards and an NFL record 5 touchdowns.[10]

Tuggle also holds the record for most tackles from 1990 to 1999 with 1,293.[11] At the time of his retirement, he held the NFL record for touchdowns via fumble recoveries with five.[12]

Personal life[edit]

His son, Justin Tuggle, played at Kansas State and is currently signed to the Cleveland Browns after playing for the Houston Texans His other son, Grady Jarrett played college football at Clemson University and was selected in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL draft by his father's former team, the Atlanta Falcons.[13] Tuggle has experienced some concussion-related symptoms like memory loss.[14]


  1. ^ "Jessie Tuggle Pro Football Reference". 
  2. ^ a b "Looking back: Tuggle known for nickname and his determination". myajc. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Atlanta Falcons | Ring of Honor - Jessie Tuggle". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  4. ^ Foundation, National Football. "HALL OF FAME PROFILE: JESSIE TUGGLE > National Football Foundation > NewsDetail". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  5. ^ a b Rosenberg, I. J. "Top 50 Falcons: No. 6, Jessie Tuggle | Atlanta Falcons blog: Atlanta football news". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  6. ^ "Loyalty Finally Pays Off for Tuggle / Pro Bowl linebacker stayed with Atlanta, even in lean years". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  7. ^ "Atlanta Falcons: All-time underrated, overrated players". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  8. ^ Service, Morris News. "Falcons to send five to Pro Bowl |". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  9. ^ Newberry, Paul. "Falcons' Tuggle retires | Online Athens". Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  10. ^ "Jessie Tuggle". 
  11. ^ "For combined seasons, from 1990 to 1999, requiring Tackles >= 0, sorted by descending Tackles". 
  12. ^ "Atlanta Falcons: Why Jessie Tuggle should be in the hall of fame". 247Sports. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  13. ^ Klemko, Robert. "A Dream Interrupts a Nightmare". The MMQB. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  14. ^ "Former NFL and College Star Jessie Tuggle Talked About his NFL Career". ESPN 99.1 – Sioux Falls Sports Leader – Sioux Falls Sports. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 

External links[edit]