Former Falcons defensive end John Zook dies at 72

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Former Falcons defensive end John Zook died Saturday in Kansas, the Atlanta Constitution-Journal reports. Zook was 72.

Zook, nicknamed “The Zooker,” played with Hall of Fame end Claude Humphrey. In 1973, when the Falcons won nine games, both Zook and Humphrey made the Pro Bowl. It was Zook’s only Pro Bowl appearance.

“He and I got along better than I’ve been able to get along with anybody,” Humphrey told the AJC on Sunday. “I guess because we both had to work hard to get where we were going.”

The Los Angeles Rams made Zook a fourth-round choice in 1969 but then traded him to the Eagles, who traded him to the Falcons before he ever played a game.

He played seven seasons for the Falcons, never missing a game, before Atlanta traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals. He played four more seasons for the Cardinals.

Zook played 144 games, 134 of them starts.

3 responses to “Former Falcons defensive end John Zook dies at 72

  1. He was one of the bright spots for the Falcons of my childhood, a great teammate, apparently, traded away too soon. His name sounded funny to me back then, but I knew he was involved in nearly every defensive play. The 1973 Falcons, the highlight of his career, went 9-5, barely missed the playoffs, and wowed Cosell by beating the Vikings on Monday Night Football. It was our first winning season. I was 6, still a year away from peewee ball, but hoping to play defense. Condolences to Mr. Zook’s family.

  2. I clearly remember watching him. …THE name Zook = Atlanta Falcons football in the early years. RIP.

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