The Falcons went ahead and planned for the future when they drafted college football’s top center, Matt Hennessy, a few weeks ago. But, the Falcons already have their long-time starting center Alex Mack who currently plans on keeping his position this year.
The six-time Pro Bowl center has just one year left on his contract. ESPN’s Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure caught up with Mack to talk about the Falcons’ new addition.
Mack made it clear he’s not looking as far into the future as the Falcons organization is. He’s simply “taking it one year at a time.”
Mack’s Goal Was to Play 10 Years in the League
Mack entered the league as a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2009. His goal was to play at least 10 seasons. So far, he’s played 12.
“Going into Year 12, I feel pretty good and excited for it, ready to take it on,” Mack told ESPN. “I’ll play the year out, see how I feel — how my body works and how much I’m enjoying it — then make the decision at the end of year if I want to keep going or what. The future is unknown, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. Every year is one year at a time: keep going, prepare, and play, and do everything as best as I can. Then I’ll see where I’m at.”
Mack has started all 69 games with the Falcons since 2016. He has played a total of 4,292 snaps.
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What Mack Told His Potential Future Replacement
Falcons looked to Hennessy in the third round. The former Temple Owl will compete for a spot at left guard this offseason, though playing at center is his strong suit.
Mack said regardless of the future, his duty is to help Hennessy as much as possible.
“I told him like, ‘Hey, glad you’re on the team. I’ll help you as much as a I can,”’ Mack said. “And I don’t know. Will he play center in the year? Will I be out of the league? Will I be on a different team? Will I still be a Falcon? The future is unknown there. But it’s my duty to help him be as good as he can be. If he’s a teammate or a former teammate, if I can help the younger guys learn more, it only helps you. It makes me a valuable part of the team to be able to coach people.
“And you want good people next to you. If he ends up being the left guard and I helped him a lot, well that helps me. If I get hurt and he steps in and plays awesome at center, well all my teammates that I care about now have a better [prepared] center. I’m fortunate to be in a position where if I coach him so well and he takes my job, well, I’ll be OK. I’ll survive. I’ll move on. I’ll retire from football or I’ll go somewhere else. I’d love to be able to have the right attitude and help.”
Hennessy said at the NFL Combine this year before the Falcons even drafted him that he looked up to Mack. Now, he gets to play alongside his idol.
A 13th Year For Mack?
Mack will turn 35 this year. That’s young compared to a lot of old heads currently in the NFL. I mean, Falcons backup QB Matt Schaub is 38 and still going strong. This year might be the end of his contract, but Mack is more than ready to return for another season if all goes well.
“If we have a really good year and do everything we want, and I feel great and they want me back again, absolutely, let’s do it again,” he said. “There’s no real use in me worrying about it too much now. You take it as it comes. You play the year out and see where things are when it is time to make a decision.”