Part of Alex Mack’s recipe for success: More sleep, less TV and video games

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – At 33, Alex Mack is one of the Falcons’ oldest players. He’s also one of the most talented.

In fact, outside of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, you could argue he’s the next best player on the Atlanta’s roster.

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Now in the thick of his 11th training camp, Mack acknowledged it takes him longer to recover than it used to.

“Mentally, [I feel] great,” Mack said. “Physically, I’m definitely getting older. It takes longer to recover than it used to. I think I showed up in good shape and I feel like I’m running around pretty well. It’s just a matter of staying healthy and taking care of my body."

And while some athletes lose their touch as they grow in age, Mack hasn’t lost a step.

Mack is coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons (2017-18) and has started every game in his three seasons with the Falcons. He’s the definition of reliable in many of ways.

“Any technique he can [use] to find an edge, he’s going to do it,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of Mack.

One of the main reasons Mack’s been able to stay at the top of his game for as long as he has is the emphasis he’s put on taking care of his body. As the years started to rack up, he began to ask himself, what he could do more of to take better care of himself.

“How can I do a better job as I get older to make sure I take care of my body,” Mack said. “What worked when I was 22 won’t work when I’m 32.”

One significant change Mack has made is the amount of sleep he gets per night. He’s more regimented in his sleep schedule than ever before.

“When 9 o’clock comes around, I’m like, ‘Turn off the TV,’” Mack said. “If the TV is off, I’m more likely to go to bed on time. Video games are a dangerous one, I’ll just play one more game and I look [and see] it’s 10:30 p.m. [I started to] pay attention to things that I could build into a habit.”

Mack doesn’t rely on his previous experiences to get him through each practice. For him, it’s all about making the most of each time he steps on the field.

He’s also brutally honest with himself.

When he doesn’t believe his play is meeting his standard, he’ll be the first to admit it and fix it. There’s no coasting in Mack’s world. He takes a “critical eye” to every part of his game – his first step, his pass setting, his positioning.

Mack’s commitment to the game has not only granted him six trips to the Pro Bowl and a potential spot in Canton one day, his play and leadership has helped the Falcons’ offense in more ways than one.

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