On the heels of his agent surmising that Abe won't be returning to Atlanta, I thought it might be worth celebrating what he's done in Atlanta. Let me sum it up in a few bullet points, for your reading pleasure:
- He had more than 60 sacks
- He was one of the most feared defenders in the NFC for more than half a decade
- He was nicknamed the Predator
- This one, he killed a quarterback. I saw it!
If he's gotta go, he's going as one of the best players the Falcons had over the last decade, and arguably over the course of the franchise. He was the backbone of the pass rush during his days here, and sometimes he was the only pass rush the Falcons had. He once got smashed in the eye and came right back, looking only slightly scarier than usual. Abe was just a beastly dude, and the mere fact that I'm using the potential past tense here makes me sad.
If he's going to go, I hope the Falcons can find someone who can come close to matching his production. The Falcons weren't even among the top fifteen teams in the league at getting after the quarterback with him, and he had a quietly great season. Unfortunately, whoever comes in won't be John Abraham, and that's a loss in and of itself.
I wish him well, and fervently hope against all the odds that he'll be back in 2012.