Troy Heinzman of SBN Atlanta is playing the role of boogeyman for us today, with his ominous wonderings. I wonder if he wrote his post while playing a pipe organ.
Unfortunately, he's got a good point: If the 2011 season were wiped out by a lockout, some of the Falcons' senior citizens might decide to hang it up. It's speculation—Troy himself admits he expects to see football in 2011—but it's not outlandish speculation. He singles out Tony Gonzalez and Todd McClure for special recognition, and with good reason.
McClure is the senior statesman of this team, having spent an entire career locking down center with the Falcons. He's a potential Ring of Honor inductee and a fantastic guy, so I don't even want to think about him retiring. But he'll be 35 after the season and the Falcons are preparing to move on without him. He could hang it up or he could decide to look for work elsewhere, and either possibility really sucks if he doesn't get to play one more season so the Falcon faithful can say their proper goodbyes.
Gonzalez is more of a wild card. As Troy notes, he'll be 36 in 2012, which is getting up there for a tight end. His numbers also slipped in 2010. If the season were effectively to be erased, would his desire for a championship outstrip his desire to go out on top of his game? I imagine it'll be a tough call.
Troy did a great job breaking this down in his post, so you should really read that. What are your thoughts on this damned possibility?