Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White has had a difficult year. He's approaching his mid-30s and that's evident on the field. As a result, for much of the season, he fell out of favor with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Roddy is under contract through 2017. If all goes according to plan, he won't regress anymore, or if he does, the pace of that regression will be slow. If it doesn't go according to plan, the Falcons may have to end their relationship with Roddy on bad terms. Per Vaughn McClure, while Roddy knows his future is uncertain, he'd sure like to play out his current deal and retire as a Falcon.
"I have no idea how next year's going to be," White said. "I have no idea. I'm just going to take it in and try to finish as strong as possible, get myself ready to go for next year. Whatever happens after that, happens." White was asked whether he could envision himself playing for another team. "I plan on being a Falcon forever," he responded. "That's what they told me. That's where my heart is. That's where my mind's at."
Roddy isn't stupid, so he knows the end is near. That doesn't mean Roddy has no fight left in him. And it certainly doesn't detract from Roddy's vision; he wants his career to end just as he pictures it ending. But isn't that a flaw that all athletes have to avoid? Isn't that the trap they're all looking to circumvent? You can't stick around too long, even one season too long.
The Falcons will undoubtedly look to add a viable receiving threat through free agency or the draft. Depending on how you assess Roddy's current ability, Roddy could find himself fourth on the depth chart next year. How will he stomach that? I have my doubts he will quietly accept that designation, but we shall see. In any case, his willingness to be a role player and role model may dictate his longevity.