Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JOHN MANASSO  |  Last updated 9/5/13
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. Entering his ninth season in the NFL, Falcons four-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Roddy White has never missed a game. White said on Thursday that that streak will continue on Sunday in the season opener at New Orleans despite suffering a sprained ankle on Aug. 16 in the second preseason game at Baltimore. Im 100 percent certain Ill be out there on Sunday, White said. In all, White has played 128 straight games an amazing feat for a pro football player, no matter his position. According to Elias Sports Bureau, White does not rank in the top five among active players in consecutive games played, but hes not far off. The leader is London Fletcher at 240, followed by Reggie Wayne (182), Shane Lechler (174), Mike Leach (168) and Jason Witten (155). Falcons head coach Mike Smith said knowing how tough White is, he doesnt have to worry about him missing games and that barring a setback, White will indeed play on Sunday. It says a lot about the type of player Roddy White is, Smith said, and since weve been here is undoubtedly the toughest player on our team. Theres been times that hes had to fight through things to get out there on the field and I dont know that theres any quite like him on that roster. White said he never thinks about the streak. You just go out there and football players play football, he said. So you dont think about whether youre going to miss a game or not, play or things like that. If you have the opportunity to go out and play, you play. I never really thought about the streak until everybody else started saying something. Almost necessarily, any professional athletes consecutive games played streak runs into jeopardy at times. In 1993, Major League Baseball ironman Cal Ripken Jr. considered ending his legendary streak two years before he broke Lou Gehrigs record when he suffered a badly twisted knee during a brawl. But he ended up playing through it. Earlier on Thursday, former NFL lineman and current NFL analyst Mark Schlereth observed that its not enough to play hurt in the NFL, players have to play injured. White said he agreed with that statement. Absolutely, he said. A lot of times, for game-planning reasons, things like that, the more opportunities you have to be out there to help your team win, youve got to be out there. Its always times where you feel like guys can miss games and things like that to get themselves better. At the end of the day, you play 16 games. You want to be able to go out there and be able to do that. Any time you can help your team out no matter if youre hurt or youre injured if you can get out there and contribute to the team then you got a chance to win the game. Wednesday was the first day that White returned to practice since suffering the injury. He was limited in his participation on both Wednesday and Thursday in practice. The Saints are the Falcons archrival,- but the opener also represents a key NFC South game. White has a contentious history with this particular opponent and its fans. In December 2010, the got himself in hot water for comments he made about the team and the city. Via Twitter he referred to the organization as the Aints an insult taken seriously in Louisiana and then he also posted, The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot expletive in my chad voice child please. Asked sarcastically on Thursday if he enjoys going down to New Orleans, White either didnt pick up on the tone or chose to take the question literally. Yeah, Im a huge fan of going down there, man, he said. Its always exciting. Theyre going to be loud and crazy. Were not going to be able to hear things, which will make the game harder for us. You get yourself up for that one. As it appears the case will be for the 129th straight time.
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