Ed Sprinkle
Date of birth: (1923-09-03) September 3, 1923 (age 96)
Place of birth: Tuscola, Texas
Career information
Position(s): Guard, Defensive End, Tight End
College: Hardin-Simmons, U.S. Naval Academy
 As player:
1944-1955 Chicago Bears
Career highlights and awards
Pro Bowls: 4
Honors: NFL 1940s All-Decade Team
Playing stats at

Edward Alexander Sprinkle (born September 3, 1923) 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 both on both defense and offense. He caught 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns during his career. However his ability to rush opposing quarterback 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.


Preceded by
John Dell Isola
New York Titans/Jets Defensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Walt Michaels
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.