Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

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Terance Mathis, Atlanta Falcons
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Terance Mathis. 21. player. 44. . WR. (1994-01)

  • Retired as franchise leader in touchdown receptions (57), receiving yards (7,349)
  • Set a then franchise record for receptions in a season in 1994 (111)
  • 1x Pro Bowl (1994)
  • 1x Second-Team All-Pro (1994)

Terance Mathis grew up in the Greater Atlanta area, starring at nearby Redan High School in Stone Mountain. He would play his college ball at New Mexico and spend his first four years in the league with the New York Jets, but he would eventually find his way home to Atlanta.

Mathis was used primarily as a return specialist and as a secondary receiver during his four years with the Jets. Nobody outside of Mathis himself could have expected what would be in store for him in his first season back in Atlanta.

Mathis had a huge breakout season with the 1994 Falcons. He set a then record for receptions in a season with 111. Keep mind that he had 87 combined catches in his four years with the Jets.

Mathis made his only trip to the Pro Bowl in 1994, when he set other career highs in receiving yardage (1,342) and receiving touchdowns (11). He would be second-team All-Pro that years as well.

In his eight years with the Falcons, Mathis went over 1,000 receiving yards in a season four times. During Atlanta’s run to the Super Bowl in 1998, Mathis had 64 catches for 1,136 receiving yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns. He played with the Falcons through the 2001 NFL season.

After briefly playing with the 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers, Mathis would retire from football at the age of 35. At the time of his retirement, Mathis had the franchise record for career receiving yards (7,349) and career receiving touchdowns (57).

Though his all-time Falcons numbers have been surpassed by Roddy White, Mathis was the gold standard for receiving longevity in Atlanta in the 1990s. By no means a Pro Football Hall of Famer, there is a compelling case that Mathis could join the Falcons Ring of Honor one day.