You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Falcons’ lineman Chester says he’s retired


Falcons offensive linemen Chris Chester and Carter Bykowski announced their retirements Thursday.

Chester, who started 35 games for the Falcons over the past two seasons at right guard, told ESPN.com that he planned to retire. Bykowski was signed Feb. 8 and never played for the team.

Chester, 34, played 11 years in the NFL after being selected in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Oklahoma by the Baltimore Ravens.

He played with the Ravens for five seasons (2006-10), Washington for four seasons (2011-14) before joining the Falcons.

“He was a really good asset for us, of course,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said recently on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “He helped solidify that (interior line) with (center) Alex Mack and (left guard) Andy Levitre.”

It was no surprise that Chester decided to retire.

The Falcons tried to replace Chester before last season, but lost a bidding war with Tampa Bay for free agent J.R. Sweezy. After missing on Sweezy, the Falcons re-signed Chester, who earned the starting position in training camp.

The Falcons recently signed guard Hugh Thornton. Ben Garland, Wes Schweitzer and Thornton will compete for the vacant spot. The team is expected to pick an interior offensive lineman in the NFL draft, which is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he believes that Garland and Schweitzer are potential NFL starters.

“They’ll battle for sure at the guard spot and see where it goes,” Quinn said. “Both of them are unique. Both of them in the run game are really rock solid. Pass protection is something where you have to get in the fire. You have to go through it and do it.

“In practice they’ve shown real improvement. They are shining examples of our Plan D (development) program.”

Bykowski, a tackle, was drafted out of Iowa State in the seventh round of the 2013 draft by San Francisco. He also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Falcons waive defensive tackle Staten
Falcons waive defensive tackle Staten

The Falcons waived defensive tackle Jimmy Staten on Wednesday. Staten, who was a fifth-round pick by Seattle in 2014, was a long shot to make the final roster. He played in college at Middle Tennessee.
Temper those hopes. The Falcons don’t need much from this draft
Temper those hopes. The Falcons don’t need much from this draft

The last time — the only other time, to be exact — that the Falcons came off a Super Bowl loss, they spent their first-round selection on Patrick Kerney of Virginia. That was actually a deft use of Round 1’s penultimate pick: They added a pass rusher to what was already a strong defensive line. (Chuck Smith, Shane Dronett, Travis...
Falcons to keep open mind with 31st pick
Falcons to keep open mind with 31st pick

The Falcons, despite heavily scouting pass rushers, plan to keep an open mind with the 31st pick in the NFL draft. The draft is set to start at 8 p.m. Thursday in Philadelphia, with each team having 10 minutes to make their pick in the first round. The second and third rounds will be held Friday, starting at 7 p.m. Rounds four, five, six and seven...
Will diluted urine tests shake up NFL draft?
Will diluted urine tests shake up NFL draft?

Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and Alabama linebacker Rueben Foster, who are both projected to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, have flunked their NFL drug test for having diluted urine. Peppers’ agents contend that he was heavily hydrating, drinking eight to 10 bottles of water a day, at the combine because he flew in from San...
5 players on the Falcons’ radar screen
5 players on the Falcons’ radar screen

For the Falcons’ personnel men, this time of the year is like Christmas. Some of the scouts have been on the road for about 200 days trying to find more talent for the defending NFC champions. With all of the information gathered, the Falcons are considering their options heading into the NFL draft, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Philadelphia...
More Stories