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Report: Former Falcons guard Justin Blalock to retire

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The longtime, durable Falcon will hang up his cleats.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It's shaping up to be a depressing day for former Falcons offensive linemen.

As good as Blalock was, it's a bit stunning he couldn't find work, and it makes you wonder whether his back was balkier than any of us thought. He did have visits with several teams, including the Lions, but hadn't signed a contract.

It's always possible he's just walking away of his own accord, as well, but hopefully he won't be leaving the game behind entirely. I'd love to see him latch on with the Falcons in a coaching or scouting role.

Blalock was a model of consistency and durability for Atlanta, cashing in six seasons with 16 games started, one with 14 games and one (2014) with 15. He was always at least slightly above average and quite frequently much better than that, offering the Falcons much-needed stability along an offensive line that was otherwise in flux. He was also a quiet leader, by all accounts a terrific guy and someone everyone around Flowery Branch seemed to love.

In other words, I have nothing but nice things to say about Blalock, and I hope he enjoys his post-retirement life. The Falcons will hope whoever plays left guard this season can be as durable and effective as he so often was.