The Atlanta Falcons will begin the 2019 regular season exactly 53 days from Wednesday. 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. 53 for the Falcons -- linebacker Mike Peterson.
The middle linebacker actually arrived in the NFL as a second-round pick for the Indianapolis Colts in 1999. After four years with the Colts, he moved on to Jacksonville, where he played for the Jaguars from 2003-08. Peterson joined the Falcons as a free agent before the 2009 season.
Peterson played 63 games for Atlanta wearing No. 53, which is second to former Falcons center Paul Ryczek, but Peterson's 36 starts is the most for anyone wearing the number in Atlanta. Over four seasons, Peterson posted 150 solo tackles, 20 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, four interceptions and 2.0 sacks.
During the 2009 season, he finished third on the team with 109 combined tackles and 82 solos.
In 10 seasons with the Colts and Jaguars, Peterson helped his team go to the playoffs five times. That continued in Atlanta, as in four seasons with Peterson on the roster, the Falcons earned playoff spots in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Peterson retired following the 2012 season. In his 14-year career, he amassed more than 1,200 tackles, 70 tackles for loss, 21.5 sacks and 19 interceptions.