Flowery Branch, GA – The Atlanta Falcons today announced that running back Gerald Riggs is the latest inductee into the club’s Ring of Honor. Riggs was selected as the ninth member of this exclusive club by a local media selection committee.
“I was surprised and thrilled when Mr. Blank called me to give me the news. To be drafted by the Falcons and spend most of my career here, and then now to be recognized as one of the all-time greats in team history, is truly an honor and a blessing,” said Riggs.”
The induction and celebration for the newest member of the Falcons Ring of Honor will take place at halftime of the Falcons Monday Night Football game against the New York Jets on October 7.
“Gerald Riggs is without question one of the greatest players in the history of our franchise,” said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank. “He was one of the finest players of his time and left an indelible mark on this club as our all-time leading rusher.”
Riggs was selected by the Falcons as the ninth overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. He was a three-time Pro Bowler in his seven seasons in Atlanta and finished his Falcons career as the franchise’s all-time rushing leader with 6,631 rushing yards. Riggs tallied 48 career touchdowns, which puts him second in team history in terms of rushing touchdowns and fifth in overall touchdowns. Riggs’ name litters the Falcons record books as he was one of the most prolific rushers of his time.
Riggs ascended to the starting role in 1984 and made an early statement by setting a new club record with 35 attempts for 202 yards in a 36–28 opening day win over New Orleans. He went on to rush for 1,486 yards and set a club record with 13 touchdowns that year, which set in motion one of the best three-year runs by any running back in franchise history. Riggs followed his breakout 1984 season by earning his first of three Pro Bowl selections, a first-team All-NFC nod from UPI, and second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press the next year. In 1985, he finished second in the League in rushing and set a franchise record, which would stand for 13 years, with 1,719 yards. Riggs averaged 107.4 yards per game and tallied 10 touchdowns that season while leading the NFL and setting a franchise record with 397 carries.
A third straight 1,000-yard season and a second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance capped the 1986 season, in which Riggs ran for 1,327 yards and nine touchdowns on 343 carries. Riggs tied William Andrews’ record for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and to this day he remains one of four backs in club history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three straight seasons.
Riggs ended his Falcons career as the club’s all-time leading rusher and held records for career rushing touchdowns (48), rushing touchdowns in a season (13), 100-yard games in a season (9), career 100-yard games (25), single-game rushing attempts (41), rushing attempts in a season (397), career attempts (1,587), yards in a game (202), 1,000-yard seasons (3), consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (3), and rushing yards in a season (1,719). He currently ranks 10th on the Falcons all-time scoring list with 288 points
Riggs joins RB William Andrews, QB Steve Bartkowski, T Mike Kenn, DE Claude Humphrey, LB Tommy Nobis, CB Deion Sanders, LB Jessie Tuggle and C Jeff Van Note as members of the team’s Ring of Honor. Sanders was the last player inducted by the team in 2011.
The Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor pays tribute to retired players who made significant contributions to the Falcons during their playing careers.