Ed Sprinkle

Edward Alexander Sprinkle (September 3, 1923 – July 28, 2014) was an American football player. He was known to many as "The Meanest Man in Pro Football" and was nicknamed "The Claw." He played for 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League and is credited with calling attention to the NFL's defensive players. Bears coach George Halas referred to Sprinkle as "the greatest pass-rusher I've ever seen" and "a rough, tough ballplayer, but not a dirty one." At first he played on both defense and offense. He caught 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns during his career. His ability to rush opposing quarterbacks, however, soon made him a defensive specialist. While accused of "dirty play" and unsportsman-like conduct during his career, Sprinkle claimed that his aggressive play was similar to that found all over the NFL throughout the 1950s. According to Sprinkle, "We were meaner in the 1950s because there were fewer positions and we fought harder for them. It was a different era."

Prior to his NFL career, Sprinkle won three letters in football and two in basketball and earned All-Border Conference while at Hardin-Simmons University in the early 1940s. He earned all-Eastern honors in 1943 while attending the United States Naval Academy. Following his pro career, Sprinkle entered business in the Chicago area. He died on July 28, 2014.

By Dean Hanley

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