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Sprinkle among top stars from service academies

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In honor of Memorial Day, NFL.com's Chase Goodbread has ranked the top 11 NFL players who entered the league from a service academy football program—Army, Navy and Air Force.

At No. 2 on his list is former Bears defensive end Ed Sprinkle, a Navy product who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year as part of a 20-member centennial class commemorating the NFL's 100th season.

Sprinkle played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Bears from 1944-55, helping the Monsters of the Midway win the league championship in 1946. He was voted to four Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1940s.

A fierce competitor, Sprinkle was once described by George Halas as "the greatest pass rusher I've ever seen."

Sprinkle, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 90, was labeled "the meanest man in football" in a 1950 article in Collier's Weekly magazine. But the Bears defensive end always stressed that he played within the rules.

The only player ranked ahead of Sprinkle on Goodbread's list is Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, who starred for the Dallas Cowboys after winning the Heisman Trophy at Navy in 1963.

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