Center Todd McClure, the player his teammates affectionately call “Mud Duck”, agreed to a one-year contract with the Falcons on Tuesday.
He called to chat after reaching his new deal with the team.
McClure, the former seventh round pick out of LSU in 1999, in the Q&A talked about his desire to get a Super Bowl ring, new offensive line coach Pat Hill and his pending battle with Joe Hawley to retain his starting position.
Q: How did it feel to get this contract done today?
A: It felt great. I’ve been here my whole career. To finish up with the Falcons that was big for me and my family. I’ve got four kids and a wife. To stay in one place for my whole career, that’s was huge.
Q: Is getting to the Super Bowl the driving force behind your return?
A: Yeah, that’s one of the biggest driving forces right there. That’s one game that I haven’t been in my career, the Super Bowl. I think that would be a great way to finish my career and that’s my intention. That’s one of the reasons that I want to come back because of the guys that haven’t had that opportunity to play in the big game.
Q: How tough was it battling through the knee injury last season and can you stay healthy next season?
A: Yeah, that was tough at the beginning. If you look at my career, I think it speaks for itself. I’ve been able to stay healthy for a long period of time. I just had a minor setback with that knee. Once I came back, I was good to go. I’m looking forward to getting through this year healthy and going out and being able to contribute to this team.
Q: How are the free agency moves looking from your vantage point? Can y’all get back to the top of the division and make that playoff run?
A: I think so. We’ve got a good core group here. We just have to get over that hump. I think we’re going to be in that game again, we’re going to have that opportunity again in the playoffs if we go out and play like we’ve been doing the past few years. When we get to that game, we can’t put any added pressure on ourselves. We just have to go out and have everybody execute their jobs and get that win.
Q: Have you talked to coach Pat Hill yet and do you have a sense for him?
A: I have. I talked to him briefly before free agency started and as a matter fact right before I called you, he called. I’m going to call him next. He seems like a real fiery guy. A guy that’s anxious to get back in the league and get back in the NFL. It ought to be really interesting to see the new techniques and the new things he’s going to bring to help us out up front.
Q: Did they say you were starting or competing with Joe Hawley for the starting spot?
A: D. Led, they’ve tried to replace me every since I’ve been here. I’ve always come out on top. I tell my family, I’m the best investment Arthur Blank has ever made. I know he’s made a lot of money at Home Depot and in other ventures, but for the price, I’ve been the highest yield. I play for cheap and I’m always consistent. I’m just going to do what I’ve always done. If I’m a starter, I am. If not, then I will support Joe Hawley. But I’m going out and giving them everything that I have.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog