In the history of the Atlanta Falcons franchise, 28 players had worn the No. 51 before Alex Mack signed with the team and he is the first Falcon to distinguish himself while wearing it.
Mack had already established himself as a Pro Bowl caliber center during his seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He had started every game for the first five seasons in his career before breaking his fibula in Week 6 of 2014. He came back in 2015 to again play every offensive snap for the Browns.
In 2016, Mack made the decision to opt out of the remaining years in his Cleveland contract and become a free agent. The Falcons had just suffered through three seasons where they lined up Pete Konz, James Stone and Michael Person at center. When Mack became available the Falcons jumped, signing him to a five-year, $45 million contract.
In his three seasons in Atlanta, Mack has continued to play at a high level. He has played every offensive snap of every game for the Falcons, making it nine of his 10 years in the NFL where he’s displayed that durability.
Mack has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons in Atlanta. Pro Football Focus also named him the best run-blocking center in the league in 2018.
The question moving forward for Mack is how much longer will he be starting at center for the Falcons? He’ll be 34 years old at the end of the 2019 season and will have spent 11 seasons starting every game at a physically demanding position. The Falcons will also gain $8 million against the salary cap if they release Mack next March at the start of the new league year. Those questions are well into the future though.
For now, and likely for a long time to come, Alex Mack will be the face of No. 51 for the Atlanta Falcons.