The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 48 is defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.
Years played for Falcons: Jonathan Babineaux, or “Babs” as he is lovingly referred to as by Falcons faithful, is the longest tenured Falcon on the team along with Roddy White as they were both selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. Babineaux was selected in the second round, 59th overall out of Iowa after recording 19 sacks over his collegiate career.
His impact on the team: Babineaux has been through it all over his now 11 years in Atlanta. He was with the team during the Michael Vick saga and all the distractions, but more importantly he was an integral piece along the defensive line for Atlanta’s two division championships and three consecutive trips to the playoffs spanning from 2010-12, the winningest stretch in franchise history. Through 160 games in a Falcons uniform, Babs has recorded 25.5 sacks and 356 tackles and has been a leader on and off the field. The gentle giant is most notably known for his giving spirit off the field and the many charities he donates to.
On his charity work: “I don’t have any particular charity on hand. I work to find various groups around the community to get involved with. I try to make sure I reach out and make it possible for people all over the community to come to a game. I work with my PR team to find these different organizations and bring them to the game and afterwards I look forward to meeting them and being a part of their experience.”
On playing in Dan Quinn’s system: “I love this defense. I love this style of defense. It’s an attacking style of defense. It’s basically hitting and running out there. ... It’s going to be like that all year long. We have to continue to progress every game. I look forward to continuing to get better with my teammates.”
Where he is now: Babineaux, now 34, has 14 tackles through seven games this season and has helped Atlanta to a red-hot 6-1 start. He also recorded just his fourth career interception in a 48-21 rout of the Houston Texans in Week 4.
The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.
50: Chuck Smith
49: Michael Haynes
47: John Zook
46: Ken Reaves
45: Lynn Cain
44: Justin Blalock
43: Bobby Butler