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Tom Pridemore


Tom Pridemore

Tom Pridemore
Date of birth (1956-04-29) April 29, 1956
Place of birth Ansted, West Virginia
Career information
Position(s) Safety
College West Virginia
NFL draft 1978 / Round: 9 / Pick 236
Career history
As player
1978-1985 Atlanta Falcons
Career highlights and awards
Awards West Virginia University Hall of Fame
Career stats
  • Playing stats at

Larry Thomas Pridemore is a former safety from West Virginia who played eight seasons in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and a legislator.[1]


  • High School 1
  • College 2
  • NFL 3
  • Current 4
  • Notes 5

High School

Pridemore played for the Ansted High School "Highlanders" and was a member of the record setting team that won 36 straight games on their way to winning back-to-back state championships (1971 and 1972).[2]


Pridemore, who was inducted into the West Virginia University Hall of Fame in 2001, holds school records that include: most career interception return yards (398 - 26.5 yards per return), most single game interception return yards, and most career interceptions (15). He also holds a WVU school record which doubles as an NCAA record as the Longest interception returned for a touchdown (102 yards vs Penn State). As a sophomore, Pridemore led the Mountaineers to a Peach Bowl victory against the NC State Wolfpack.


After being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1978, Pridemore saw his first start in the third game of his rookie year and never looked back. Pridemore was Atlanta's starting free safety for the next eight years, and earned the reputation as one of the meanest, hardest-hitting safeties in the game. With 21 career interceptions (returned for 368 total yards), Pridemore ranks sixth on Atlanta's all-time pick list behind Deion Sanders. He ranks fourth on the all-time list for most interceptions in a season at 7, and holds the Falcon's club record for most interception return yards in a single season (271). In 1981 Pridemore picked off a Joe Montana pass from a yard deep in Atlanta's own end-zone and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown, which is a team record.[3] This duplication of Pridemore's previous college and NCAA record will probably also stand for quite some time, if not forever in Atlanta. While playing for the Falcons, Pridemore served one term in the West Virginia House of Delegates, between 1980 and 1982 as a Democrat. He is the only NFL player to hold this legislative office while playing professional football.


After his tenure with the Falcons, Pridemore settled in Atlanta with his wife Leigh and four children, and went on to found Pride Utility Construction Company with long-time friend and teammate Scott Case. Pridemore is a prominent businessman in the greater Atlanta area, and has personal ventures in residential real-estate and timber properties.

Pridemore now has two sons who play football at the Collegiate level. Matt, the eldest, enrolled at Duke University as a wide receiver in 2007, and TJ, who plays fullback for the University of Florida, enrolled in 2008.


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  3. ^ "Reed rumbles 108 yards for NFL record | Longest interception returns by team".  
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