FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — On Monday, June 12, Falcons owner Arthur Blank will honor two of the most iconic players to ever wear the red and black. Roddy White and Michael Vick will be honored in a special retirement press conference and reception to recognize the contributions and impact both men made to the Falcons organization and the city of Atlanta.
“We consider all former Falcons to be Falcons for life, and part of our family,” Blank said. “Both men have made a huge impact on my family, our franchise and this city and we are thrilled to be able to honor both Roddy and Michael’s wishes to retire as Falcons, and celebrate their careers.”
Neither former Falcon will sign a contract or take a current roster spot to signify their retirement. “We do not need a contract in place to consider them a part of our family and honor their decision to retire as a Falcon,” said Blank.
The Falcons traded up for Vick in 2001 and, in doing so, made the former Virginia Tech star the first African American quarterback taken No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft. After appearing in just eight games as a rookie, he quickly became a household name.
Vick generated excitement throughout the city of Atlanta and every NFL fan – young and old – while creating a new fan base for the franchise with his captivating style of play. Fully entrenched as the Falcons starting quarterback heading into his second year, Vick led the team to a 9-6-1 finish and a shocking 27-7 Wild Card playoff win over Brett Favre and the heavily favored Packers at Lambeau Field. It was a historic upset, as Vick’s Falcons became the first team to ever beat the Packers at home in the playoffs.
During his six seasons in Atlanta – from 2001 to 2006 – Vick was named to three Pro Bowls and completed 930 passes for 11,505 yards and 71 touchdowns. Vick, a legitimate dual-threat as a passer and runner, also rushed for 3,859 yards and scored 21 touchdowns on 529 runs as a Falcon. Vick is the only quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1000 yards in single season.
Vick went on to play seven more seasons in the NFL, including a five-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. His last two seasons were with the New York Jets (2014) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2015).
As the 27th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Roddy White brought another dimension to the Falcons offense. White’s first touchdown, on his path to becoming the franchise leader in touchdowns, was a 19-yard reception from Vick against the Packers during his rookie year.
White’s toughness and consistency also played a large part in the development of quarterback Matt Ryan. White played 11 seasons in Atlanta and still owns several Falcons receiving records. In 171 games from 2005 to 2015, he amassed 808 receptions, 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns – all franchise records.
White’s best season came in 2010, when he led the NFL with 115 catches and had a career-best 1,389 receiving yards. He was eventually named first-team All-Pro and was selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls, the last being in 2011. He was the fifth player in league history to record three consecutive seasons with at least 90 receptions and 1,200 yards (2010-12). He set a franchise record with six-straight 1,000-yard seasons and caught more passes (480) than any other player in the NFC during that span. After sitting out the 2016 season, White announced his retirement from the NFL on April 14, 2017.