Warrick Dunn isn’t mentioned when the Falcons’ greats are discussed. You don’t hear Dunn’s name alongside those such as Steve Bartkowski, Deion Sanders, or Jamal Anderson of Falcons’ lore. In a lot of ways, it’s almost as if Warrick never played for Atlanta.
I, however, vividly remember Dunn’s six seasons in Atlanta and am grateful that my hometown team had such a man represent the organization and the city. While his on the field contributions are not to be overlooked, it was Warrick Dunn’s off the field accomplishments that define both the player and the man.
Dunn has few rivals when it comes to his charity work and giving to others in need. He is best known for his “Homes for the Holidays” program through which he helps provide single parent mothers realize the dream of home ownership. The program is in honor of his mother, herself a single parent, who was shot and killed in a robbery at her second job as a security guard. Dunn’s mother was a Baton Rouge police officer. Dunn also helped co-found “Athletes for Hope” with some of the sports world’s biggest names to promote professional athlete charitable involvement. Dunn is recognized as one the most giving men, let alone athletes, of his generation.
While Dunn’s giving and charitable work are what make him truly great, he had just as much on the field while catching 204 passes for over 1,600 yards and six touchdowns. For his Falcons’ career, Dunn had 1,617 touches from scrimmage for over 7,500 yards, an average of 4.6 yards per play, and 36 total touchdowns. Those numbers measure well against anyone in a six-year prime as a professional football player, let alone another Atlanta Falcon.
Some will talk about the things he didn’t or couldn’t do. Some will highlight his being the perfect fit for a system. I simply give you the player and the man. While the Falcons have had some very good players take the field and do great things and who have made a difference in the community, I cannot think of one that has reached beyond what Warrick Dunn meant in his time with Atlanta. What a special time many may forget.
On the field Warrick Dunn was a pro, an All Pro actually, off the field he was a champion. He is, without question, my favorite Falcon’s player.
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Editor Note: Over the next several weeks we will be bringing you a couple of features that will help you get to know our writers. One of those features is "Our Favorite Falcons." So far, Eric told us why Jessie Tuggle is his favorite and last week Mike wrote about Brent Grimes. Each week come back to the blog and we will introduce you to another one of our favorite Falcons and tell you why that player has found a spot in one of our writers hearts.
Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and notes over at The Grits Blitz.