In the prime years of his football career, Falcons offensive lineman Hugh Thornton announced his retirement on May 9 at the age of 25. Thornton was signed by the Falcons on March 21 with a chance to fill the starting right guard vacancy. The former third round pick out of Illinois, Thornton started in 32 of 37 games for the Indianapolis Colts over his brief career. Thornton missed all of last season with a foot injury.
With Thornton out, the Falcons’ offensive line currently consists of nine players. Atlanta dealt with the retirement of veteran guard Chris Chester after the season, and the guard position will be an open battle leading into the upcoming season. Without experience from the current nine guys on the line, there could be a rotation with the current crew or a late season addition. Matt Ryan was pressured often last season despite having an MVP season, making protection a necessity for the offense to thrive. How will the retirement of Thornton impact the Falcons protecting Matt Ryan and the running backs? Check out what The Falcoholic has to say.