The Atlanta Falcons were able to keep perennial Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, but lost longtime another team anchor in the offseason. Todd McClure, who with 194 starts and 13 NFL seasons under his belt held the franchise record forconsecutive starts, announced his retirement.
At a ceremony honoring the newly retired lineman Monday Falcons owner Arthur Blank pledged to give him the team’s highest honor.
“You deserve to be in that Ring of Honor,” owner Arthur Blank said, “and we will get you there as soon as we can.”
Blank’s comments came during McClure’s retirement press conference Monday where the team toasted him and his accomplishments with the team.
McClure was a seventh-round pick in 1999 and was considered undersized for the position. He was tutored by zone-blocking guru Alex Gibbs. Through the coaching tenures of Dan Reeves, Jim Mora, Bobby Petrino and Mike Smith, McClure remained a constant force on the offensive line, constantly fought off competition to keep his job. He eventually broke Keith Brooking’s franchise record for consecutive starts.
Last year’s second-round draft, Peter Konz, is expected to take over for McClure at center after struggling in 12 starts at right guard in his rookie season. NFL.com reports that the Falcons are counting on Konz to improve as he gains strength and moves back to his natural position.