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Top 50 Falcons: No. 18, Jamal Anderson

Jamal Anderson, Atlanta Falcons
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Top 50 Falcons: No. 18, Jamal Anderson
Jamal Anderson, Atlanta Falcons

Falcons running back Jamal Anderson ranks fifth all-time in franchise history with 5,336 yards rushing and third with 34 touchdowns. (AP)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 18 is running back Jamal Anderson.

Jamal Anderson, Atlanta Falcons

Falcons running back Jamal Anderson is credited for creating the infamous “Dirty Bird” dance that swept the nation. (Ben Gray/AJC)

Years played for Falcons: Selected in the seventh round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Utah, it took two years before the original Dirty Bird made his mark as a bell-cow back for the Falcons. His 1,846 yards rushing during the 1998 march to the Super Bowl is still a single-season franchise record. That year he was named a Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro. He played from 1994 to 2001 in Atlanta before a career-ending knee injury ended his playing life as a 29-year-old.

Jersey No.: 32

His impact on the team: Jamal Anderson was the heart and soul of the greatest Falcons team in history. A 14-2 regular season and a Super Bowl XXXIII appearance was large in part thanks to Anderson’s downhill running. His 1,846 yards is still a record and his 14 rushing touchdowns also stood for 10-years before Michael Turner broke it with 17 in 2008. Anderson is credited for creating the infamous “Dirty Bird” dance that swept the nation. In a 1998 press conference he exclaimed, “people break out and do the Dirty Bird in the strangest places.” He ranks fifth all-time in franchise history with 5,336 yards rushing and third with 34 touchdowns.

On the 1998 Falcons: “One thing that was so special about our football team is that we were genuinely, tremendously close. We were a very close group. And what we accomplished, we’ll never forget [it].”

Where he is now: Anderson, now 43, lives in the Atlanta area and has had numerous run-ins with the law. He was arrested in February 2009 on suspicion of cocaine possession, DUI in 2012 and was charged with two more DUIs in a span of 10 months with his latest arrest coming in September.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith
49: Michael Haynes
48: Jonathan Babineaux
47: John Zook
46: Ken Reaves
45: Lynn Cain
44: Justin Blalock
43: Bobby Butler
42: Tim Mazzetti
41: Buddy Curry
40: Scott Case
39: Jeff Merrow
38: Elbert Shelley
37: Matt Bryant
36: Alge Crumpler
35: Michael Turner
34: Ray Buchanan
33: Chris Hinton
32: Terance Mathis
31: Devin Hester
30: Don Smith
29: Greg Brezina
28: Chris Miller
27: John James
26: Bob Whitfield
25: Rolland Lawrence
24: Alfred Jenkins
23: Billy Johnson
22: Chris Chandler
21: Morten Andersen
20: John Abraham
19: George Kunz
18: Jamal Anderson


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