On August 28, 2001 the Falcons announced that LB Jessie Tuggle had retired from football. Tuggle, who spent 14 seasons with the Falcons after joining the team as an undrafted free agent from Valdosta State in 1987, was the leading active tackler in the NFL and the all-time leader in Falcons history with 1,830 career tackles. Tuggle's streak of 12-straight 100-tackle seasons snapped in 2000 when his year was cut short by a torn medical collateral ligament and slight tear of the medial meniscus in his left knee after just eight games. It was the first time in his career that a season ended prematurely due to an injury.
Tuggle took over as a starter at middle linebacker in his second season in 1988 after starting four games as a rookie in 1987. Tuggle went on to earn five Pro Bowl berths (1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, and 1992) and led the Falcons in tackles in 10 of his 14 seasons. He holds the NFL record for most touchdowns by recovery of opponents' fumbles with five. He finished his career ranked third on the club's all-time list for most games played with 209 and most starts with 182. Tuggle, who played his entire football career in the state of Georgia (Griffin High School, Valdosta State and the Falcons), earned the nickname "The Hammer" for his vicious bone-jarring tackles.
Tuggle has been as active in the community as he has been a force on the field during his brilliant Falcons career. He was honored as the Falcons' "Man of the Year" in 1993 and United Way national spokesperson in 1995-96. His list of community awards includes being named the prestigious "Peach of an Athlete" in 1996 by the Boy Scouts of America (Georgia Chapter). He has served on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation over the past three years. Tuggle has been the official spokesperson for the Fatherhood Campaign throughout Georgia since 1997, which promotes responsible fatherhood. Tuggle's loyal and devoted service over the years also extended to his alma mater, Valdosta State. For his charitable efforts, the school named their new workout facility the "Jessie Tuggle Strength and Fitness Complex." Jessie's wife DuJuan, served as President of the Atlanta Falcons Wives Association for three years and was instrumental herself in many community activities and events, which further solidified the Tuggle presence in the Atlanta community.