Doug Atkins, a defensive lineman who earned induction into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, has died. He was 85.
Robert Shelton, a co-owner of Shelton-Hunt Funeral Home in Humboldt, Tenn., said Atkins died Wednesday morning of natural causes at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
Atkins was a four-time all-NFL selection who made eight Pro Bowl appearances during a 17-year NFL career with the Browns, Bears and Saints. His 6-foot-8 frame created major matchup problems for opponents.
“He was just a vicious pass rusher,” said Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, a former Bears teammate. “He’d take the tackle all the way back to the quarterback and knock them both down, things like that. He had a great wingspan.
“He just played the game hard. He played the game the way you were supposed to play it.”
Before joining the NFL, Atkins played at Tennessee from 1950-52. Tennessee went 29-4-1 during his college career and won a national title in 1951.
Atkins spent his first two seasons with the Browns, who selected him out of Tennessee with the 11th overall pick in the 1953 draft. He was with Chicago from 1957-66 and then with New Orleans from 1967-69.
He was a part of NFL championship teams with Cleveland in 1954 and with Chicago in 1963.
Atkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Atkins and Reggie White are the only Tennessee players ever to be inducted into both halls.
San Diego submits pitch
City and county officials have made their final pitch to the NFL in what has been a contentious effort to keep the Chargers from moving to the Los Angeles area.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and county supervisor Ron Roberts signed the letter, which reiterates that the public contribution for a $1.1 billion stadium will be $350 million and the Chargers share would be $353 million.
It also says the Chargers have always known that a public vote was required for the project.
The Chargers walked away from negotiations in mid-June and have focused their efforts on building a stadium with their AFC West rivals, the Raiders, in Carson, Calif.
NFL owners are scheduled to meet in mid-January to address relocation.
Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is being evaluated for a concussion and could miss Sunday’s season finale against the Steelers.
Team officials said Manziel reported to the facility Wednesday complaining of concussion-like symptoms.
... Ravens receiver Steve Smith announced on Twitter his plans for next year include, “Making a comeback, returning to the Baltimore Ravens ready to play football in 2016.”
The 15-year veteran said before this season this would be his final year in the NFL. His season ended Nov. 1 when he tore his right Achilles tendon.
... The Cowboys placed receiver Dez Bryant (foot), safety Barry Church (arm) and defensive end David Irving (wrist) on injured reserve.
... Bills coach Rex Ryan says running back LeSean McCoy (right knee) is not expected to play against the Jets.
... Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey announced rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota (right knee) won’t play against the Colts. Zach Mettenberger will start his second straight game and fourth this season.
... Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (Michigan State) is out of the NFL’s concussion protocol and will start against the Jaguars on Sunday.
News wire services contributed