The Atlanta Falcons honored two of their greatest players on Monday as Roddy White and Michael Vick officially retired as members of the Falcons organization.
Both Vick and White have not played in the NFL since 2015 when White was a member of the Falcons and Vick was playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite their NFL careers coming to an end, their impact on the city of Atlanta will never be forgotten.
Roddy White was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the 27th pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. In his 11 seasons with Atlanta, White became the franchise leader in receiving yards (10,863), touchdowns (63) and receptions (808). His most notable moment came during the 2012 playoffs, where he caught a 47-yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks, immediately getting in the face of Richard Sherman to taunt and celebrate.
White's toughness and talent struck a cord with Falcons fans, making him a fan favorite immediately. The former UAB star always wore his heart on his sleeve and gave 110% every time he pulled on a Falcons jersey, no matter what the situation was.
White was cut from the team in 2015 and did not play for any team during the 2016 season. Following the 2016 season, White officially retired from the NFL but the Falcons would not let that happen without a retirement ceremony alongside a fellow Falcons great.
The Game Changer
If someone watched the NFL from 2001 to 2006, they knew about Michael Vick. The Virginia Tech quarterback was taken by the Falcons with the first overall pick in 2001, and from that moment on, Vick would change the game of football. Vick made three Pro Bowls with Atlanta, revolutionizing the quarterback position with his dual-threat ability. In 2006, Vick became the first QB in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
From his incredible fake knee slide against the Carolina Panthers to becoming an unstoppable force on the video game Madden 04, Vick changed the QB position forever and paved the way for dual-threat quarterbacks today.
Vick's popularity and impact were huge for Atlanta, but his relationship with the Falcons and the city of Atlanta became strained after he was sentenced to prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. Vick's sentence saw his time in Atlanta come to a bitter end but after his release from prison, he returned to football with the Philadelphia Eagles. Since his return to football, Vick has worked to mend his relationship with the city of Atlanta and during the final home game at the Georgia Dome in 2017, he was honored alongside Roddy White.
Forever Falcons Legends
Roddy White and Michael Vick always left jaws dropped in their time with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick's ability to turn a busted play into a 50-yard run constantly left defenses in the dust, while White's big play ability and relentless trash-talk terrorized defensive backs around the NFL. The two will never be forgotten in Falcons history and fans will continue to celebrate their achievements.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank spoke about the two during their retirement ceremony on Monday and applauded their accomplishments with the Falcons. Blank praised White, saying, "Everything this man has done has been with great humility." He then went on to address Vick and his reform over the years: "Life is about learning from your mistakes. Many people have done that, I would say none more than Michael Vick."
The Falcons decision to honor Vick has caused plenty of controversy and debate, but it's the correct decision as they pay tribute to a man that changed the game and achieved plenty with Atlanta. Arthur Blank allowing Vick and White to retire as members of the Falcons gives fans a real chance to say goodbye and witness franchise heroes depart the game the right way.