on their way to incredible careers among the pro football ranks.
Only a handful of Vols, past and present, are worthy of being called “the greatest,” however. Here is the list of the top Vols for Life based on their outstanding NFL careers.
Doug Atkins8 of 11
The first person named to both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Doug Atkins tore up the college gridiron before doing the exact same thing in the NFL.
Atkins was the No. 1 draft pick in 1953. Atkins went on to an incredible career with the Chicago Bears beginning in 1955. The 6’8″, 257 pound defensive end was All NFL four times and played in eight Pro Bowls.
Atkins was known for his ability to routinely leap over offensive linemen in his pursuit of the quarterback.
Peyton Manning9 of 11
The greatest quarterback in the history of Tennessee football just so happens to be one of the best in NFL history as well. Peyton Manning still holds every important passing record at Tennessee. While hewon only one SEC title at Tennessee, during his four years in Knoxville, the Vols went 39 6.
Manning was the first and only player to win four NFL MVP awards. He has one Super Bowl MVP trophy. Manning, the man who resurrected the Indianapolis Colts franchise, has been a first team All Pro five times and has played in 11 Pro Bowls.
During his time as the starter in Indianapolis, the Colts have finished under .500 just twice. Manning’s record as the Colts starting quarterback is 141 67.
Manning spent the 2011 season on injured reserve. The Colts went 2 14.
Reggie White10 of 11
Nicknamed “Minister of Defense” for his outspoken faith, Reggie White left Knoxville in 1984 and went cheap jerseys china
on to become the greatest pass rusher in NFL history with the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.
White retired as the all time leader in career sacks with 198 over his 15 year career in the NFL. A two time defensive player of the year, White played in 13 Pro Bowls and was elected as a first team All Pro 10 times. White was named to the NFL’s All Decade Team in both the 80’s and 90’s.
White’s 21 sacks in 1987 still ranks fourth all time for a single season. White still holds the Tennessee record for sacks in a single season (15) and career sacks (32).
Honorable Mention11 of 11
There are a handful of former Vols who made their name in other professional football leagues.
The Artful Dodger, quarterback Condredge Holloway, was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1999 after a 13 year career in the CFL. Holloway was a two time Grey Cup Champion and won the league’s Most Outstanding Player award once. He threw for over 25,000 yards in his pro career.
Andy Kelly, Tennessee quarterback from 1988 91, holds several career passing records after a 15 yearArena Football League career.
One of Peyton Manning’s top targets at Tennessee, wide receiver Marcus Nash, enjoyed success in the AFL as well. Nash had five 1,000 yard seasons and was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2004.