Atlanta Falcons: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
24 of 30
Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

WR. (2005-15). Roddy White. 7. player. 44.

  • 4x Pro Bowl (2008-11)
  • 1x First-Team All-Pro (2010)
  • Six straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons (2007-12)
  • Led NFL in receptions in 2010 (155)
  • Franchise all-time leader in receiving yards (10,863), receiving touchdowns (63)

It’s only been a few years since wide receiver Roddy White hung up the spikes. The former first-round pick out of UAB spent his entire NFL career with the Dirty Birds. It might have taken a few years for him to get right in the Falcons’ receiving corps, but he certainly left it better than he found it.

White played the position with the mentality of a wrestler. While never the fastest or the most skilled route runner, White was able to come up with grab after grab from quarterback Matt Ryan through the entire Mike Smith era in Atlanta. His rapport with Ryan from 2008 to 2015 absolutely brought out the best in each other.

Let’s not forget that White was looking like a bust his first few years in the league. It was hard for him to get on the same page with run-first quarterback Michael Vick in Atlanta. While the 2007 NFL season for the Falcons was essentially a lost cause, the lone bright spot of that season was the White went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time.

He would do that for a franchise-record six seasons in a row, making it to four-straight Pro Bowls from 2008-11 in the process. White’s best season came in 2010 when he led the league in receptions with 115 for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. Atlanta would end up with the best record in the NFC, but lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at home in the divisional round.

This is really when White became a beloved figure in Falcons lore. He fully embraced the mentor role when Atlanta traded up to No. 6 to draft wide receiver Julio Jones out of Alabama in the 2011 NFL Draft. Some might have seen Jones as a threat, but White saw it as a way to pay it forward. Their working relationship helped bridged the gap in the Falcons’ receiving corps from 2011 to 2015.

White considered playing for one of his former Falcons offensive coordinators with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans in 2016. However, he would never play for another team, retiring as a Falcon in June 2017 alongside former teammate Vick.

White holds several franchise receiving records including most career receiving yards (10,863) and receiving touchdowns (63). Jones may eventually surpass White in every Falcons’ all-time receiving category. However, White remains a borderline Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate and a look to be inducted into the Falcons Ring of Honor sooner rather than later.