The Atlanta Falcons likely drafted the eventual replacement for six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack with their selection of Temple center Matt Hennessy in the third round of the NFL Draft.
Mack will turn 35 years old in November and is preparing for his 12th season in the NFL. According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Mack is committed to the upcoming season and will wait until after the year is done to figure out his plans for the future.
For now, Mack is focused on the present. And if that means helping Hennessy prepare to be the best player possible to help the Falcons this season, Mack is more than willing to lend a hand.
“I told him like, ‘Hey, glad you’re on the team. I’ll help you as much as a I can,’” Mack said. “And I don’t know. Will he play center in the year? Will I be out of the league? Will I be on a different team? Will I still be a Falcon? The future is unknown there. But it’s my duty to help him be as good as he can be. If he’s a teammate or a former teammate, if I can help the younger guys learn more, it only helps you. It makes me a valuable part of the team to be able to coach people.”
Hennessy is slated to be at left guard with Mack at center this year. But with Mack in year 12 and Hennessy in place for up to four seasons on his rookie deal, the passing of the torch at center is a likely inevitable. It’s a reality Mack is already comfortable with.
“And you want good people next to you. If he ends up being the left guard and I helped him a lot, well that helps me. If I get hurt and he steps in and plays awesome at center, well all my teammates that I care about now have a better [prepared] center,” Mack said. “I’m fortunate to be in a position where if I coach him so well and he takes my job, well, I’ll be OK. I’ll survive. I’ll move on. I’ll retire from football or I’ll go somewhere else. I’d love to be able to have the right attitude and help.”