Douglas Leon Atkins (born May 8, 1930) is a former American football defensive end who played for the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints in the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Tennessee under legendary head coach Robert Neyland. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Atkins was a fierce defender who was known for using his immense size and agility to his advantage. At 6'8", Atkins would often bat passes down at the line of scrimmage and would use his skills as a high jump champion to leapfrog blockers and get to the quarterback. Atkins was one of the first great exclusively defensive players in professional football and, along with fellow Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti, revolutionized the defensive end position.
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By Dean Hanley
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