Jason Snelling has retired from the NFL. We'll have plenty of time to discuss cap savings and his successor over the next couple of months, but right now, I want to share some of the reactions to Snelling's retirement. It's unusual to see an NFL player truly leave the game on his own terms, and doubly unusual to see that player more or less universally beloved.
"I have decided to retire after seven years in the NFL to spend time with my family," Snelling said in a statement. "I want to thank [owner Arthur] Blank, Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith for providing me the opportunity to play for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are a first class organization run by a first class owner and I am grateful that I got to spend my entire career in Atlanta."
"Jason was a good teammate and a joy to coach," (Mike) Smith said in a statement. "He played a number of roles for our team during his time here and was always ready when his number was called. We want to thank Jason for his contributions to our team and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Thank you, Jason Snelling. #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/8Z1xqvWyT4— Atlanta_Falcons (@Atlanta_Falcons) March 4, 2014
Big thanks and congrats to fellow @Atlanta_Falcons Jason Snelling on a great career! Thankful for the opportunity to be your teammate!— Bradie Ewing (@bewing34) March 5, 2014
Such a blessing to have had the opportunity to sit across from Jason Snelling on a daily basis. Will forever be one of my favorite teammates— Mike Johnson (@MPJohnson79) March 5, 2014
Shoutout to Jason Snelling on a great career! Such an awesome teammate and ambassador of the game, proud to have shared the field with him!— Patrick DiMarco (@PatDiMarco42) March 5, 2014
Wanted to give a huge shout out to Jason Snelling. One of the most underrated players in the game and a great teammate.— Joe Hawley (@JHawley61) March 5, 2014
@TheFalcoholic Mr. Shovel Pass into end zone will be missed!!— KVK (@Falcontailgater) March 5, 2014
@TheFalcoholic Really going to miss him playing. He always treated us fans at the tunnel before games great always signed autographs— stevetanner (@stevetanner) March 5, 2014
@TheFalcoholic Aww... I didn't know he retired. I liked him. He was reliable and underrated.— Abby (@heavenlycirce) March 5, 2014
@TheFalcoholic 44 carried us to our first back to back winning seasons at Raymond James in 2009. Falcon 4 ever— Lee Wong (@kusonagi) March 5, 2014
Jason Snelling is one of toughest guys I've ever met. Remember him telling me he played 2nd H of playoff game vs Giants w/ fractured jaw— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 4, 2014
Peace to J Snellz, who once filled in at halfback, fullback, and wildcat quarterback during the same game, IIRC— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) March 4, 2014
#Falcons RB Jason Snelling has decided to retire. Good luck! He was always respectful to media.… http://t.co/mb03AjWDCJ— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoLED) March 4, 2014
Take a look back at Jason Snelling's seven-year career in photos. Thank you, Jason: http://t.co/TvDH38iV3a #RiseUp— Jay Adams (@FalconsJAdams) March 4, 2014
A personal note, here, albeit an obvious one. Jason Snelling was one of my favorite players from the last decade, which was immediately apparent to anyone who has been reading this site's articles in the last eight years, and his tenure in Atlanta basically spanned the existence of The Falcoholic. It's going to be strange to write about this Falcons team without including a big Snelling play or two in the game recaps, and I'll genuinely miss seeing #44 on the field.
Share your favorite Jason Snelling plays and games in the comments.