As of Thursday, there are 59 days until the Atlanta Falcons begin the 2019 regular season at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 8. With that in mind, let's remember one of the best players to wear No. 59 in franchise history -- inside linebacker John Rade.
Drafted in the eighth round -- 215th overall -- in the 1983 NFL Draft, Rade wasn't expected to accomplish much in his career. But as a rookie playing for Dan Henning in 1983, he played in every game and started 11 of them. Injuries prevent him from playing in nine games the following season, but by 1985, he became a full-time starter and was until he retired after 1991.
He played his entire career with the Falcons from 1983-91. During that time, the team had three different head coaches. Rade played in 122 games, including 112 starts. That's more than any other player wearing No. 59 in franchise history.
Rade never made the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, but he was one of the best players and leaders of the Falcons defense in the 1980's. He finished his career with 10.5 sacks and six fumble recoveries.
Rade's best season came in 1985 when he recorded 5.0 sacks and two interceptions -- one of which he took back for a touchdown. The Falcons made one playoff appearance during his career -- his last season in 1991. Atlanta beat the Saints in the Wild Card round but lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Redskins in the Divisional playoffs.