The Falcons have had a handful of great receivers in the franchise's long and winding history, and you can likely name them quickly. There was Alfred Jenkins, Andre Rison and Terrance Mathis at the top of the list. You can add Roddy White, and frankly he has surpassed them all.
No one would have anticipated this for Roddy after his first two seasons in the NFL, a time when Roddy admitted he struggled with off-the-field issues and maturity, hardly a rare affliction for a young receiver. There was a dedicated coaching staff and mentors who gave him the help he needed to mature, but it's impossible to talk about Roddy's transformation into what he is today without crediting him first and foremost. We've seen how many players struggle to overcome bad habits, but Roddy put in the work to become a great NFL receiver.
Make no mistake: He has achieved greatness.
As of today, Roddy is the best receiver in the franchise's history, with Falcon career marks for receptions (685), yardage (9,436), and games played (141). By the end of this season, there's little doubt he'll have the franchise receiving mark for touchdowns, given that his 55 grabs are only two off the lead. With the news that he's signed a four-year contract extension just hours old, he has an opportunity to retire as a Falcon with 14 years under his belt and significant distance between him and everyone else for those franchise marks. As the clear #2 option in a pass-first offense, he should continue to build on those numbers, too.
It has been a remarkable career. He broke out catching passes from Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich and Chris Redman before becoming young quarterback Matt Ryan's most reliable target and most vocal public defender. He's put up consistently huge numbers for years and years, and when an injury threatened to derail his season last year, he tried gamely to fight through it. Reputation for mouthiness aside—and frankly I love even that—Roddy has been exactly the kind of player, professional and receiver you dream of getting in the first round. It took him more than two full seasons to blossom, but when all is said and done, he'll have put together a likely borderline Hall of Fame career, even if you acknowledge that receiving numbers are being inflated in the current era.
So today is a great day for Roddy White, the Falcons and fans alike. Congratulations to Roddy on his extension, and let's hope he walks away from the game as an Atlanta Falcon.