Riggs inducted into the Falcons’ Ring of Honor

Gerald Riggs, the Falcons’ all-time leading rusher, was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor during halftime of the Falcons-New York Jets game at the Georgia Dome on Monday.

His banner was unveiled in the rafters and he was presented with a large plaque from team owner Arthur Blank to a standing ovation.

Riggs, the ninth player selected in the 1982 draft, became the ninth member of the team’s Ring of Honor.

The Falcons hosted a dinner in Riggs’ honor at the Blank Family Foundation offices in Buckhead on Sunday night.

Riggs, with his family in attendance, spoke about his arrival in Atlanta and how veteran center Jeff Van Note welcomed him.

“He was first guy who really warmed up to me,” Riggs said. “A lot of players in those days were a little skeptical of a guy coming from Arizona State and the fact that we drafted a running back when we had William Andrews. He was all-world.

“I’ll never forget Van Note sitting on the bus with me one day after a game and I was still trying to figure all of this out. How am I going to factor into this team or win a starting position or whatever this may be? Noter sat down and talked to me. He was the only guy at the time who did so and I will never forget those trips and all of those games we played.”

Falcons announcer and former quarterback Dave Archer told about the day in 1985 he handed the ball to Riggs a team-record 41 times and how he ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Riggs and Andrews flourished together before a severe knee injury effectively ended Andrews career. He reflected on his days with Andrews.

“I was just always a little faster than William,” Riggs said, laughing. “But we set the stage.”

Riggs was a three-time Pro Bowler in his seven seasons in Atlanta and finished his Falcons career with 6,631 yards rushing. He finished his career with Washington (1988-1991) and accumulated 8,188 yards and 69 touchdowns before he was finished.

Other members of the Ring of Honor include linebacker Tommy Nobis (2004), linebacker Jessie Tuggle (2004), quarterback Steve Bartkowksi (2004), Andrews (2004), Van Note (2006), offensive lineman Mike Kenn (2008), defensive lineman Claude Humphrey (2008) and cornerback Deion Sanders (2010).