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Jeff Merrow

Merrow didn’t like it when he was told that a 1979 poll by the Washington Post rated him as the fourth dirtiest player in the National Football League – behind only Conrad Dobler, Cliff Harris and Mean Joe Greene. But he didn’t poke anybody’s eyes out. “I’m no dirty,” Merrow told the Beacon Journal in ’79. “I just like to intimidate people and try to take advantage of it. I just play with a lot of enthusiasm. But I guess I’m moving right up in this league, aren’t I?” The Firestone High grad had a long way to go. Injuries hampered him during his junior and senior years at West Virginia University, lowering his stock to the pros. He was admittedly disappointed when he wasn’t selected until the 11th round of the NFL draft in 1975. However, an injury to All-Pro Claude Humprhey put him in the starting lineup at defensive end as a rookie for the Atlanta Falcons. He kept the job for nine years. He had 10 sacks in 1977, when Atlanta’s defense gave up a league-low 129 points. In 1981, he had eight sacks and 31 solo tackles as the Falcons made the playoffs with a 12-4 record. And the defense was the third best in the league against the run. He retired after the 1983 season.

Inducted 1989 | Football