Watch: Roddy White being honored as an Atlanta Falcons Legend on Sunday

Tom Pollin

This Sunday will be special at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, not because the Falcons are hosting the Carolina Panthers but because former wide receiver Roddy White will be inducted into the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor.

White came to Atlanta as the twenty-seventh overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He struggled to play up to his potential in his first two seasons with the Falcons. He only managed 29 receptions and three touchdowns in his rookie season and followed up with 30 catches and no touchdowns in his second year.

In 2007, the Falcons struggled with Joey Harrington, Chris Redman and Byron Leftwich taking turns at quarterback but White came into his own as a receiver. He caught 83 passes for 1,202 yards, the first of six straight seasons that he would pass the 1,000 yards receiving mark. He also led the team with six touchdown catches.

In 2008, White made his first of four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. He finished the season fourth in the NFL with 1,382 receiving yards. In 2010, White was named a first team All-Pro after leading the NFL with 115 receptions, turning them into 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In 2013, White dealt with ankle and hamstring injuries. He only played in 13 games and he failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards. White came back strong in 2014 but his production dropped so dramatically in 2015 that the Falcons released him the following offseason.

White finished his career as the all-time leading receiver in Falcons history. He pulled in 808 catches for 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns. All of that adds up to an impressive career, worthy of his inclusion into the Falcons Ring of Honor but he was also an all-star for the team off the field.

Julio Jones credits White with helping him adjust to life in the NFL. D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Jones saying, “It’s just amazing all of the things that he’s done here. He paved the way for a lot of guys, myself included. He taught me, so the way I play the game, I’m going to pass it down to these guys now, Calvin (Ridley), Russell (Gage) and (Justin) Hardy.”

The praise by Jones shows exactly how special White was off the field as he was on. His work ethic and willingness to be a resource for his younger teammates was just as important to the Falcons as White’s on-field accomplishments.

Roddy White was a special player and teammate who deserves the recognition he’ll be receiving by the team on Sunday.

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