Former Chicago Bears defensive end Ed Sprinkle has passed away at the age of 90. He reportedly died July 28, in the Chicago suburb of Palos Heights.
Sprinkle played 12 seasons with the Bears under Coach George Halas. He started his career playing both defense and offense. In fact, he caught 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns during tenure. But, Sprinkle made a name for himself on defense. He was often accused of playing dirty, even for the rugged 1940 and 50’s playing standards. His ferocious play earned him the nickname “The Meanest Man in Pro Football”. Others referred to him as “The Claw” thanks to his trademark forearm move that he used to swat away blockers.
Bob Caroll, an author and American football historian, reported Sprinkle as responding to comments about his physical nature by saying, “I was about as aggressive as any football player that walked on the field. If I had an opportunity to hit someone, I hit them. I had a reputation with my teammates and Halas as being the roughest player the Bears ever had. That doesn’t make me mean or dirty.”
Sprinkle’s career consisted of four pro-bowls, a place on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1940s, and a championship with the Bears in 1946.
Following his professional football career, Sprinkle had many business projects. He went into the carpeting and tile business, owned a bowling alley, and even returned to the American Football League as a defensive coordinator for the 1962 Titans.
Sprinkle is survived by his daughter, his sons Alan and Steven, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.