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Dimitroff Addresses Chester's Status

Free Agency is underway and the Atlanta Falcons are making moves. Check out updates here as familiar faces return and new guys commit to the red and black.

While the Falcons will not deal with many changes on offense next season, it's likely they'll have to find a new right guard.

During a conversation with SiriusXM at the annual owners' meeting, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the odds are Chris Chester, who is now an unrestricted free agent, will not continue his playing career in 2017.

"If I were betting on it, I'd say it's time for him to make his move to the next part of his life," Dimitroff told Alex Marvez and Vic Carucci. "He was a really good asset for us, of course. He helped solidify that [interior line] with [center] Alex Mack and [left guard] Andy Levitre."

Chester, 34, just wrapped up his 11th year in the NFL and second in Atlanta. If he does choose to retire, he'll go down as one of the most durable OL of the last decade. After his rookie season, Chester missed only two games and started every regular-season contest his team played from 2011-16.

And while many linemen struggle to keep up in their mid-30s, Chester remained an effective part of the Falcons' offense through last February. He allowed just one sack and one QB hit in three playoff games, according to Pro Football Focus, and his stout performance in Super Bowl LI helped neutralize the Patriots' interior D-line.

Looking ahead, the battle at right guard figures to be an interesting one in 2017. Ben Garland, Wes Schweitzer and Hugh Thornton are in the mix, and more competition could be added next month at the NFL Draft.

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