Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Todd McClure, Atlanta Falcons
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

44. . C. (2000-12). Todd McClure. 19. player

  • Started 195 career games at center for the Falcons over 13-year span
  • Fulcrum on the DVD rushing attack in the mid-2000s
  • Former seventh-round pick out of LSU in 1999
  • Nicknamed “Mud Duck”, the ultimate Falcons fan favorite

The Falcons have certainly had their fair share of outstanding offensive linemen. While guys like Mike Kenn and Jeff Van Note have great to decent hall of fame candidacies, no former longtime Falcon has been enshrined in Canton from the front-five.

Though not a hall of famer by any stretch of the imagination, longtime center Todd McClure is without hesitation one of the most beloved Falcons of all-time. He embodied everything you would hope for in a Falcon. “Mud Duck” showed up every Sunday and gave his offense every chance to succeed for 13 years.

In essence, McClure was Van Note for a younger era of Falcons fans. Van Note and Alex Mack may be more skilled, but no doubt McClure is one of the three greatest centers in Falcons history. His journey to being a Falcons fan favorite should not be overlooked.

McClure was a former seventh-round draft pick out of LSU. As a rookie in 1999, he tore his ACL in training camp and missed the entire campaign. Those two things against him could have knocked a lesser player out of the league, but not “Mud Duck”.

Beginning in 2000, McClure would take over at starting center. He was there for the entire Michael Vick Experience, as well as the early part of the Matt Ryan era in Atlanta. The Falcons were almost always one of the better rushing attacks in football during McClure’s time at center. DVD, which was Warrick Dunn, Vick and T.J. Duckett, helped Atlanta make the NFC playoffs twice in 2002 and 2004.

Vick might have gone to prison and Dunn and Duckett might have retired. However, McClure was there for the peak Michael “The Burner” Turner years at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta would make the NFC playoffs four times during the Mike Smith era of Falcons football, including two division crowns and an NFC Championship appearance.

Sadly, McClure’s last game with the Falcons was the 2012 NFC Championship game, where the Falcons blew a 17-point lead at home to lose to the San Francisco 49ers for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. McClure would retire as a lifelong Falcon in the 2013 offseason.

Owner Arthur Blank has stated the McClure will be in the Falcons Ring of Honor one day. Let’s hold Uncle Arthur to that claim. McClure’s lunch pail mentality was sorely missed during the rancid three years after his retirement and Mack’s arrival in 2016 NFL free agency.