Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry announced his retirement from the NFL today, according to the Atlanta Falcons website. Jerry, the 24th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, was expected to be a key rotational player in the Falcons rebuilt defensive front this season.
The former Mississippi stand out never really lived up to his potential after GM Thomas Dimitroff selected him to help bolster Atlanta’s defensive front. Injuries played a factor in Jerry’s ineffectiveness, but many critics believed the SEC product simply didn’t develop according to his potential.
With Atlanta’s stated goal to get stronger along the line of scrimmage this year, the loss of Jerry is significant. While there’s still a lot of time left between now and the start of the season, the Falcon will have to find Jerry’s replacement and bring him up to speed on Mike Nolan’s defensive playbook.
Look for Atlanta to go shopping, perhaps via the trade market; Cover32’s Michael Aprile suggested some defensive names that might be available for the right price. Though none play Jerry’s DT position, the Falcons 2014 second round pick Ra’Shede Hageman could easily take Jerry’s minutes and allow someone like Irvin or Houston to take his place in at DE in 4-3 sets.
Regardless of what personnel moves Atlanta makes, Falcons fans everywhere wish Peria Jerry nothing but the best as he moves forward with his life.