Beginning on October 7th, there will be a new name and number flying from the rafters of the Georgia Dome.
The Atlanta Falcons announced on Wednesday that former running back Gerald Riggs has been selected, and with that, he will become just the 9th player in team history to be given the team’s highest honor. Following the news, Riggs provided this quote via AtlantaFalcons.com:
“I’m proud to be a part of something that lets people recognize me for what I did. It may not be huge numbers, but to have that from the organization you were chosen by, it is indeed an honor, a privilege and a blessing.”
That pretty much sums it up from his standpoint, but the reference to the lack of “huge numbers” echoes what may be an issue for some Falcons fans. In his career, Riggs rushed for “only” 6,631 yards over 7 seasons in Atlanta, but he did contribute 48 touchdowns with in a red-and-black uniform. At his peak, Riggs was absolutely electric, rushing for as many as 1,719 yards (in 1985), and posting three consecutive seasons with 1,300+ yards and 9-or-more touchdowns, and that was enough to make him one of the greats in franchise history.
For longtime Falcons fans, this is a long time coming, but for the younger crowd, they may not have an appreciation of Riggs. He was one of the best in the business at his peak, and for a franchise that still lacks the presence of a Pro Football Hall of Famer, the bar is a little bit lower. The 52-year-old Riggs is certainly deserving in my view, and during halftime of the Falcons/Jets game on October 7th (Monday night), he will be bestowed with a big-time recognition.