Former Falcon Roddy White – just trying that phrase on for size, and it feels wrong, like me trying to fit into my wedding suit – is on deck to be added to the Falcons Ring of Honor. Book that as one of the only sure highlights for the new stadium.
Now that we’ve had nearly a day to digest White’s firing by the Falcons, it is way past time we put his career in context.
This is tricky work. For in the aftermath of a popular player’s dismissal, we are apt to give too much weight to his time of service. That is true of all obituaries, actual and professional.
That said, I’d squeeze him now into the top five of all-time Falcons as of today (awaiting the fullness of Julio Jones’ career).
And it could have been even higher, had White not taken his first two seasons to figure out how to be a professional, had Matt Ryan come along a little sooner and had Kyle Shanahan not come along at all.
Here’s a very subjective All-Time Falcons Top 10, March of 2016 version.
Did I mention it is very subjective? Feel free to move the pieces around as you choose:
- Tommy Nobis, LB.
- Matt Ryan, QB.
- Jessie Tuggle, LB.
- Jeff Van Note, C.
- Roddy White, WR.
- Mike Kenn, OT.
- Steve Bartkowski, QB.
- Claude Humphrey, DE.
- William Andrews, RB.
- Gerald Riggs, RB.
A few explanations are in order.
Mr. Falcon, Nobis – the franchise’s first draft pick, its first Pro Bowler and the most dependable company man ever – will always be No. 1. It’s my list, so it’s my prerogative to etch the stone however I please.
No, Deion Sanders is not there. You’ll note a pronounced bias towards length of service – Tuggle, Van Note and Kenn were, respectively, 14-, 18- and 17-year survivors of this team. Accumulating that amount of scar tissue should be worth something. Sanders was a relative Falcons dilettante, spending his first five years here before finding greener pasture.
Yes, that’s the still-active Ryan up there very high. The numbers and records he already has accumulated are undeniable.
Michael Vick – not a chance. The harm outweighed the highlights.
The franchise’s all-time leading receiver is in great company. An All-Timer to be sure, regardless of where specifically you may choose to slot him (not that slotting is really required at this level).