Falcons alumnus Ray Buchanan didn’t just talk the talk. That man walked the walk. Signed before the 1997 season, Buchanan was a member of the defense that helped carry the Falcons to Super Bowl 33. In fact, if you recall, he publicly guaranteed the Falcons would win that game. But that’s just who he was: a man that had a lot of skill and wasn’t afraid to talk about it.
Buchanan played seven years with the Falcons (1997-2003), racking up 30 interceptions. Pro Football Reference didn’t track defended passes before 1999, but during Buchanan’s last five years with the Falcons (1999-2003), he defended 77 of them. The former 3rd round pick out of Louisville only made one Pro Bowl during his 12 year career, which is a little shocking in retrospect. If you ask Buchanan what drove him during his NFL career, he’s sure to mention where he was drafted. Buchanan came into the league thinking he was elite, and that mindset never dissipated.
The Falcons highly valued Buchanan’s contributions. That was evident when they handed him a six-year, $36 million contract extension before the 2001 season. It included an $8 million signing bonus, the biggest the Falcons had ever given out. Buchanan was an incredibly durable player, rarely missing a game.
Buchanan’s time with the Falcons wrapped in 2003. He’d play one more year with the Raiders before retiring. Buchanan’s has had a successful run outside of football. (And I’m not just referring to his self-titled 2002 rap album.) Buchanan currently works as a radio host for Fox Sports but he’s also held positions with NFL Netwrok and ESPN. He also trains NFL hopefuls each spring and has volunteered his time teaching proper technique to youth league players.
All in all, this was one of the best free agent signings in Falcons history. Your thoughts, Falcoholics?