Ed Sprinkle Chicago Bears
“He’s the greatest pass-rusher I’ve ever seen.” (George Halas on Ed Sprinkle)
Ed Sprinkle signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent out of Navy in 1944. A fierce competitor, Sprinkle was once described by legendary Hall of Famer George Halas as "the greatest pass rusher I've ever seen." Strong, hard-hitting and one of most feared players of his era, most notably at defensive end, Sprinkle was labeled “The Meanest Man in Football” by Collier’s Weekly.
The 6-1, 206-pound Sprinkle, originally played both offense and defensive end for the Bears. He caught 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns during his career. He helped lead Chicago to an NFL Western Division title in 1946 with an 8-2-1 record. The Bears would go on to defeat the New York Giants 24-14 in NFL Championship Game. However, his ability to rush and tackle the opponents' passers soon made him a defensive specialist.
During his 12 seasons with the Bears, NFL teams were switching to the T-formation, and a strong pass rush was essential to defend against the improved air attacks. Sprinkle was determined, extremely quick off the snap and, as a left- handed right end, he could handle most blockers with his stronger arm. Sprinkle is widely regarded as one of first players to gain fame by rushing the passer.
In total, Sprinkle intercepted four passes for 55 yards, one safety and recovered two fumbles for TDs during his career. He was named First-Team All-Pro in 1949, First Team All-NFL in 1950 and Second-Team All-NFL four times (1949, 1951, 1952 and 1954). Sprinkle was also voted to four Pro Bowls (1951-53, 1955) and is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1940s.