To celebrate 12 weeks, 84 days, until the Falcons’ season opener editor Dave Holcomb looked back at Roddy White, one of the greatest to wear that uniform number in franchise history. White wasn’t the only notable wide receiver to wear No. 84 though. This evening we’re going to look back on the career of Alfred Jenkins.
For a man who almost didn’t make it to the NFL, Jenkins retired as the greatest wide receiver in Falcons history. He played college football at Morris Brown, which left him ignored through all 17 rounds of the 1974 NFL Draft.
He hooked on with the Birmingham Americans of the World Football League where he opened the eyes of NFL scouts. He signed with the Falcons in 1975 and broke in with a big rookie season. Jenkins only caught 38 passes in that season but turned them into 767 yards, a 20.2 yards per catch average.
Jenkins spent the next two seasons continuing to be a big-play receiver but missed all but one game of 1978 with a broken collarbone. He came back big in 1979 with 50 catches for 858 yards, then put together his two greatest seasons in a Falcons uniform.
In 1980, the Falcons had Jenkins and Wallace Francis stretching the field for Steve Bartkowski while William Andrews and Lynn Cain combined for over 2,000 yards on the ground. They finished first in the NFC West with a 12-4 record but collapsed in the fourth quarter of their divisional round game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to win 30-27. Jenkins went to his first Pro Bowl after that season.
Jenkins reached even higher in 1981. He led the NFL with 1,358 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches. After that season he was named a first team All-Pro and went to his second straight Pro Bowl.
Jenkins retired after the 1983 season as the franchise leader in catches with 360, receiving yards with 6,267 and receiving touchdowns with 40. He’s still in the top five in receiving yards and touchdowns.
Jenkins is without a doubt one of the great receivers in Falcons history and hopefully the franchise recognizes that some day and inducts Jenkins into the Falcons Ring of Honor.