Saturday marks 64 days until the Falcons kick off the 2019 season in Minnesota against the Vikings. Let’s mark the day by looking back on another great center in Falcons history, Jamie Dukes.
Dukes started all 48 games during his college career at Florida State and as a senior, earned consensus All-American honors. In the 1986 NFL Draft, eight centers were selected in 12 rounds and Dukes wasn’t one of them, despite his stellar play. He ended up signing with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent.
Dukes started four of the 14 games he played in during his rookie season and only appeared in four games in 1987. In 1988 he split time at left guard with John Scully as he began establishing himself as a contributor on the offensive line. That season also marked the first and only time Dukes got a chance to be a ball carrier. In Week 8 against the New York Giants, Dukes is credited with a 13-yard kickoff return in the Falcons 23-16 loss.
In 1989, Dukes took over as the Falcons starting center and held that position for five seasons. He started every game during that span, anchoring one of the greatest Falcons offensive lines of all time.
From 1989 to 1992 the Falcons started the same five across their front, Mike Kenn at left tackle, Houston Hoover at Left Guard, Dukes at Center, Bill Fralic at right guard and Chris Hinton at right tackle.
The 1993 season was Duke’s last in a Falcons uniform. In 1994, he signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers and started six games for them. Dukes finished his career in 1995 when he started eight games for the Arizona Cardinals.
Dukes has spent a lot of his post-NFL career as a broadcaster and working on a variety of health initiatives. He was a talk show host on WZGC-The Game until 2015 when he left due to the impact of the long daily commute on his health.
Dukes was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1991.