Dec 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Falcons center Todd McClure (62) takes to the field before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
It’s the ultimate hometown tribute for anyone who donned an Atlanta Falcons jersey — induction into the Ring of Honor.
The inaugural class was in 2004, with William Andrews, Steve Bartkowski, Tommy Nobis and Jessie Tuggle receiving the honor. In 2006, Jeff Van Note joined the Ring, followed by Mike Kenn and Claude Humphrey in 2008. Deion Sanders joined the elite in 2010, and Gerald Riggs was the latest honoree, in 2013.
So who will be the next Falcon immortalized as an all-time great? Here are a few notable possibilities:
John Abraham — Over seven seasons, Abraham logged 68.5 sacks, a Falcons record.
Morten Andersen — The Great Dane is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer in the NFL, and also the all-time Falcons leading scorer. He’s also the Saints all-time leading scorer, but we can overlook that.
Keith Brooking — The Georgia boy logged a decade at linebacker with the Falcons, being named to five Pro Bowls.
Tony Gonzalez — Yes, he only played five seasons in Atlanta. But the Hall of Famer finally got a playoff win, and he certainly was Matt Ryan’s go-to guy in a pinch.
Terance Mathis — He once held a boatload of Falcons receiving records. While most have fallen (Thanks, Roddy White!), he is still the team career leader in TDs with 57 (a stat that will probably fall this year to Mr. White).
Todd McClure — The center spent his whole career with the Falcons. and owner Arthur Blank has already said he needs to be in the Ring.
Undoubtedly, there are some future Ringers on the current roster — Matt Ryan, Matt Bryant, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Jake Matthews, perhaps?. Any of these guys could turn out to be Falcons legends. But in the meantime, let’s focus on the past. Who would you put next in the Falcons Ring of Honor?