The Atlanta Falcons today announced the release of wide receiver Roddy White.
"Roddy is one of the greatest players to ever put on a Falcons uniform, and even more importantly he is a man of tremendous character that I and my entire family have profound personal affection and respect for," said Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank. "I have developed a special relationship with him over the years, my children have grown admiring him and our partners and I all share a debt of gratitude for what he has meant to us and our team. Truly, there are no words to adequately express my thanks for all he has meant to me, my family, the Falcons and to this community, both on and off the field. He has been a difference maker in every way and has touched numerous lives here in Atlanta.
"Roddy will forever be part of the Falcons family and I'm confident our fans will always remember and be grateful for the exemplary way he has represented them over the last 11 years," said Blank. "We wish him nothing but the very best and, on a personal level, we look forward to a lifetime relationship with Roddy and his family.
"It is always a challenge to balance how we feel about a particular player with the implications of the salary cap, as well as the clear commitment we have to our fans and stakeholders to assemble a championship-caliber roster each and every year," continued Blank. "After a lot of discussion with Thomas (Dimitroff), Dan (Quinn), and others, the difficult decision we've made today was ultimately driven by the need to address some key areas on our roster and ultimately to meet that commitment."
White, 6-0, 212 pounds, was originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round (27th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Alabama-Birmingham. White is Atlanta's all-time leading receiver, amassing 808 catches and 10,863 receiving yards in 11 seasons with the team. He finished the 2015 season with 43 receptions for 506 yards and one touchdown.
"Decisions like these are always difficult, but this was one of the most difficult decisions I have been a part of in my years of football," said General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. "We have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for what Roddy has meant to this community and organization. He is a great teammate and one of the all-time great Falcons. We thank Roddy for everything he has meant to this organization and we wish him success as he continues his career."
"Roddy is one of the best competitors and warriors I have ever been around," Head Coach Dan Quinn stated. "He was one of the first players I reached out to when I was hired here, and I want to thank him for his professionalism and leadership. Although this was a difficult decision, we feel this is best for everyone as we continue to put this team together, not just for the 2016 season, but for the future as well."
The South Carolina native owns the franchise record for receiving and overall touchdowns with 63 scores during his career. Among active players, White ranks seventh in targets (1,376), eighth in receiving yards (10,863), ninth in receptions (808), and 10th in touchdowns (63). He is one of 33 players in NFL history to catch more than 800 passes, and one of 45 players to record at least 10,000 receiving yards. The veteran wide out was named a first-team All Pro in 2010 and went to four straight Pro Bowls from 2008 to 2011.
White's toughness and consistency were key factors in the development of quarterback Matt Ryan. White was the fifth player in league annals 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. His 6,571 receiving yards from 2008-12 ranked second in the NFL behind Calvin Johnson and his 43 touchdowns tied Larry Fitzgerald for second in the league.