The Atlanta Falcons will begin the 2019 regular season exactly 52 days from Thursday. Atlanta will start their quest to make Super Bowl LIV against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 8.
With that in mind, let's look back in franchise history at the most successful player to ever wear No. 52 for the Falcons -- linebacker Matt Stewart.
Stewart's tenure in Atlanta was short, but he made a bigger impact than anyone else wearing No. 52 for the organization. Stewart arrived in Atlanta as the 102nd pick overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. He didn't start a game as a rookie but did appear in 15 games, posting 25 combined tackles and one fumble recovery.
In 2002, Stewart became a starter at linebacker. That season, he recorded 59 combined tackles, including 55 solos and eight tackles for loss with 3.0 sacks. Starting 13 games in 2002, Stewart helped the Falcons advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. The team beat the Green Bay Packers, handing them their first-ever playoff loss at Lambeau Field.
Stewart was also part of the Falcons squad that earned a spot in the NFC Championship Game during the 2004 season. He left Atlanta following 2004, finishing his career with the Cleveland Browns in 2005 and 2006.
In four years with the Falcons, Stewart played in 63 games and started 44 contests, which is the most for anyone wearing No. 52 in franchise history.