Emmitt Thomas’ contract not renewed

091108  Atlanta - TURNER TOUCHDOWN - Falcons running back # 33 Michael Turner breaks away for a 58 yard touchdown and a 31-17 lead over the Redskins during 4th quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. The Falcons defeated the Redskins 31-17.   Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

091108 Atlanta - TURNER TOUCHDOWN - Falcons running back # 33 Michael Turner breaks away for a 58 yard touchdown and a 31-17 lead over the Redskins during 4th quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009. The Falcons defeated the Redskins 31-17. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com


Tuesday night

Longtime Falcons assistant coach Emmitt Thomas‘ contract was not renewed by the team.

“Everyone here in the Falcons organization has the utmost respect for Emmitt and we deeply appreciate his contributions to our team over the years,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Tuesday night. “We wish Emmitt the best in his future endeavors.”

Thomas, who served as the assistant head coach/secondary for the last two seasons under Smith, had served as an assistant under the last four coaches.

Thomas first joined the Falcons in 2002 under former head coach Dan Reeves.

He was responsible for keeping the team together when Bobby Petrino left during the 2007 season. He was selected to serve as the interim head coach.

Last season, the defense finished 28th in the league against the pass.

When Smith was named the head coach, one of his first decisions was to retain Thomas and promote him to assistant head coach/secondary.

Last season was Thomas’ 42nd in the league. He played for 13 years and has coached for 29 seasons.

Thomas was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2008.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave their state of the team addresses on Monday.

Both were asked by WSB Channel 2’s Zach Klein to name their MVPs for the season.

Both picked tight end Tony Gonzalez as their offensive MVP. Dimitroff elected to award him a “game ball.”

Smith picked second-year safety Thomas DeCoud and defensive most valuable player.  Dimitroff picked second-year middle linebacker Curtis Lofton.

Smith noted that offseason weight training program will start on March 24. The organized team activities will start on April 1 followed by the mini-camp in the second week of May.

ROSTER MOVE: Defensive lineman Dan Klecko, son of former New York Jets’ great Joe Klecko, was signed to a reserve/future contract by the Falcons on Monday.

Klecko was selected by New England in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. He’s played with New England and Indianapolis. While he’s played some fullback, the Falcons consider him a defensive lineman.

BASEMENT WRITING CAVE — It will be interesting when Falcons owner Arthur Blank, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith speak to the media today around 3 p.m.

Coach Smith will do his season-in-review and provide offseason medical updates for the 13 players on injured reserve and practice squad – injured.

Dimitroff is set to lay out the Falcons offseason personnel retention and acquisition framework. This will be quirky considering the league’s labor situation.

Mr. Blank will give his state of the union address from the ownership perspective.

So, while we are waiting for updates from Flowery Branch, let’s look back on my Five Highlights from last season. Feel blog RYAN NEfree to add your own. Posting back-to-back winning seasons is the overall theme for the season, not a singular highlight.

5. Defensive end John Abraham tossing Miami’s Jake Long to the turf. After the way he man-handled Long, you just thought Abraham was in for another big monster season.

4. The run defense down the stretch. The run defense held the Bills to 40 yards rushing and then held the Buccaneers to 38 in the season finale. The run defense finished ranked 10th in the league.

3. Michael Turner’s 158-yard rushing game against Washington. He had a 58-yard touchdown run and you sensed at 5-3, he was ready to power the Falcons back to the playoffs in the second half of the season. He would suffer a high right ankle sprain the following week against Carolina.

2. Roddy White’s 210 yards receiving against San Francisco. He was going against Nate Clements, the $80 million man. He scored on touchdowns of 31 and 90 yards. “Roddy had a huge game out in San Francisco,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “One of the things that sticks out from that game for me was the 90-yard touchdown that he had. He made a great catch against press coverage. It was really unbelievable. That was  fun to see him out there really dominating a game.”

Roddy White had another 1,000-yard receiving season.

Roddy White had another 1,000-yard receiving season.

1. The touchdown drive against the New York Jets. Ryan, playing in his first game back after suffering his turf toe injury, drove the Falcons 73 yards in 11 plays for the game-winning touchdown, a 6-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez. It was the team’s only victory over a team with a winning record. “That was a great drive for us,” Ryan said. “That was a great win for us up there.”

81 comments Add your comment

Blue Fender

January 11th, 2010
7:37 am

Blue Fender

January 11th, 2010
7:38 am

OOOOOOOH! I feel (short bus) special!


January 11th, 2010
7:38 am

Rev Blake

January 11th, 2010
7:39 am

How about when coach Smitty stood up for his players when notable sore loser DeAngelo Hall crossed into the Falcons bench area to start a fight. The NFL caved by fining Coach Smith and sent DeAngelo the message that his juvenile antics can continue. But Coach Smith earned tons of respect from the players and fans.

The Real Falcon

January 11th, 2010
8:08 am

9-7 enough said!
Now begins the string of winning seasons.


January 11th, 2010
8:13 am

Don’t forget Redman to White with no time left on 4th and goal.


January 11th, 2010
8:44 am

A highlight for me will be when they release Michael Jenkins and Jamaal Anderson

Other than that a highlight for me was when Brent Grimes jumped up high in the air and caught that interception against the Saints in NO…………that was great


January 11th, 2010
9:21 am

I realize finishing with a winning record of course is the overall theme, but to me it deserves a little extra attention. When the Falcons had been eliminated from the playoffs with three games to go they went up to frigid NJ and won then beat the Bills, soundly, and then totally controlled the Bucs in RJ stadium. I am proud of the entire team for finishing strong and look forward to next season.


January 11th, 2010
9:25 am

Grimes int vs Brees.


January 11th, 2010
9:36 am

Winning the final 3 games.That was huge after knowing you are not going to playoff’s. Strong finish when they could have folded up the tent.Only a couple player’s away from being in the hunt for year’ to came. GO FALCONS

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 11th, 2010
10:48 am

CONGRATS: Blue Fender. What’s a short bus special?

ICEMAN: That was really a lowlight. Tamp was 1-11. That game should have never came down to a last ditch drive.

: Grimes’ pick in New Orleans was pretty good.

Edgewood Adam

January 11th, 2010
10:53 am

What should have been Grimes second INT against Brees!!


January 11th, 2010
10:54 am

6. The majority of the Ga. Dome crowd chanting “We Want Vick” during the Eagles game.


January 11th, 2010
10:55 am

Favorite moment of the season: Thomas Decoud hitting Drew Brees in the mouth on a safety blitz in the game at NO. He forced a fumble and the ball was picked up by Kroy Biermann who ran it in for the TD. I will remember that one for a loooong time.


January 11th, 2010
11:00 am

6. The majority of the Ga. Dome crowd chanting “We Want Vick” during the Eagles game.

That was the lowest point, not only of this year but since the beginning of the franchise. Nothing against MV but as a fan you cannot cheer for the team you’re playing….ever.


January 11th, 2010
11:12 am

Ledbetter, do the math. If that play isn’t made, we don’t finish with a winning record. Therefore, it was arguably the most important play of the season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

January 11th, 2010
11:42 am

gdg73: That would be the lowlights blog. Since I’ll be blogging every day, five times a week, that one is coming very soon!!!

: I understand that. But you’re supposed to pile-drive 1-11 teams. Not beat them at the end. Can’t make that a highlight.


January 11th, 2010
11:52 am

Hard to pick a single play that hasn’t already been noted. I guess my overall highlight would be remembering that even with this tough schedule and unusually high number of injuries this team was only a couple of missed field goals away from being 11-5 again. I keep thinking that we’re only a good off season away from being a real contender and then I remember the labor situation.


January 11th, 2010
12:00 pm

. . . how did Roddy’s last second TD vs. TB not make the list? And how did the win vs. Tampa in Tampa, lifting the curse, not make the list???? That should have been #1, but you completely left it out.

Reid Adair

January 11th, 2010
12:06 pm

Great list, D Led. I also thought the Miami game was a sign that this was going to be a great year for John Abraham. Guess that was a mistake, huh?

The run defense down the stretch was great.

retired on the lake

January 11th, 2010
12:49 pm

DOL gotta agree with ICEMAN a highlight at one of the darkest points of the season. Redman to White kept us from falling off the the edge of the the cliff. Not a lowlight. Maybe not the top five highlights but at least in the top ten.

Matt the Brave

January 11th, 2010
1:11 pm

#6. Finishing out the season with three wins.

Blue Fender

January 11th, 2010
1:21 pm

I think the Grimes interception of Brees would have made it if the Falcons would have won the game.


January 11th, 2010
1:29 pm

I think we were shot a raw deal due to Elam and would have been a wild card favorite or even number one in the south had it not been for Jason Elam. I think we should go for Joshua Cribbs and come to a team that treats it’s players great.


January 11th, 2010
2:09 pm

Going back to the 49ers game..the forced fumble after a Ryan INT by White followed up by the Falcons recovering the ball was a play that summed up the season. Even when the Falcons were down they never quit and in the end they won.


January 11th, 2010
2:27 pm

6. “We Want Vick”. I was there and loved every minute of it. Don’t underestimate that event though. Did you notice how alot of the discussion surrounding the man subsided and all but went away after that game? That game brought closure to the whole Vick episode for the majority of Falcon and Vick fans.

Rodson Leftwich

January 11th, 2010
2:57 pm

If they don’t get a DECENT pass rusher, the Falcons will be home next year too. Abraham needs to retire. If you watched the games, you know that there was NEVER any pressure on opposing QB’s. I thought the DB’s did a commendable job considering they had to cover for 10 secs. or more each snap.


January 11th, 2010
3:03 pm


Then stop talking about that loser.

Rev Blake

January 11th, 2010
3:07 pm

Not true gdg73, not true at all. Vick has faded from the minds of everyone due to his failure to be a factor in Philly or the NFL. Remember; “You reap what you sow…” Tragically, Vick has proven continually that he learned nothing. Remember his speach concerning the “courage” award he received in Philly? Essentially he said, “I DESERVE this because of everything that I’ve been through.” He will go down as another tragic waste of talent due solely to a total lack of wisdom.
Therefore, that episode was most definitely a low point of the season. Vick fans have done more than they even realize in helping Arthur Blank decide where the new Falcons stadium will NOT rest.


January 11th, 2010
3:27 pm

Rev Blake,
The new stadium, if built, will be centrally located in the metro area on the cheapest piece of land available. The City can ill-afford its version of the Pontiac Silverdome (located 40 miles from downtown Detroit).

South ga boy in the atl

January 11th, 2010
3:52 pm

DOL. I think a highlight was the way the team responded to new Orleans at home one week after the Eagles debacle. They played with intensity and heart even though their starting QB and RB were out. It set the tone for the final 3 games and the way the Falcons played after being eliminated. It should not have been a suprise that they finished so strong because if there was ever a time to lay down and quit, it was after the Eagles game. Now we just need a couple of playmakers on defense and we will be ready to challenge the elite teams of the league

Rocky Mountian Falcon

January 11th, 2010
4:44 pm

If Mr. Blake is gong to build a new stadium, I say he builds it in Portland, OR., Salt Lake City, UT. or L.A. California.
My reason for this is, the non-supportive, lack of a fan base in the Atlanta area. Georiga does not deserve the Falcons, and the Falcons deserve batter fans. I am a former Ga. Boy, who grew up in the North Ga. Mountians now living in the Rocky Mountians. I watch every game via NFL ticket on Direct TV., Too many times have I seen empty seats or too many seats filled with the other teams fans. When the Eagles came to town, the cheering was louder for Philly than for the home team. This is pathetic and unacceptible.
As far as my top 5 highlights, 5. The 49er game, 4. the Bears game, 3. the Jets game, 2. Miami game, and NUMBER ONE….the FINAL GAME OF THE SEASON WHEN WE HAD OUR 1ST. BACK TO BACK WINNING SEASONS!!! NEXT YEAR WE WILL HAVE 3 IN A ROW!!!

poppa falcon

January 11th, 2010
6:40 pm

I applaud those highlights. But as Truth noted earlier (although we lost the game), the Brent Grimes INT in New Orleans was a thing of beauty AND grace!


January 11th, 2010
8:17 pm

This team is on the right track, good Coach, Good GM and great owner. Now get on with the Free agents and defence…win ,win,win.


January 11th, 2010
8:41 pm

Low points:
1. Ignorant fans cheering Vick
2. Jason Elam missing at New Orleans
3. Jason Elam missing at New York Giants
4. Jason Elam missing at Carolina
5. Ryans toe


January 11th, 2010
8:56 pm

Although it won’t come out as a top ten, I think Matt Ryan’s knack for winning games in the last minutes will become more apparent in future games….


January 11th, 2010
9:00 pm

How about Turner blasting through DHall to score the TD? (The AJC had a great photo of it.)


January 11th, 2010
9:14 pm

Oh – there it is, right at the top. Good job, Curtis Compton.

life time falcon

January 11th, 2010
9:54 pm

mr blank will never move the birds from near atlanta. doraville has a nice place for a dome. former gm plant. right by mart. rail line

life time falcon

January 11th, 2010
9:58 pm

also i think mr blank learned alot after pushing a dog killer around in a wheel chair with a 144 million dollar contract

Rasheed Willis

January 11th, 2010
10:05 pm

There aint nuthin wrong with pushing a dogkiller around in a wheel chair. You should try it sometime white boy!!

Obama forever!!!!

Live from Mama's Basement

January 11th, 2010
11:18 pm

Falcons are Pros

January 11th, 2010
11:27 pm

Its all a bunch of hog wash.the Falcons need to put thier money where thier mouth is and get some players in here to make the team superbowl contenders, otherwise it an’t gonna happen.43 years is long enought to wait for a winner.


January 12th, 2010
12:07 am

Hey Rasheed Willis, I think you put race relations back about 10 years with that comment. Nice. Ignorant fool. I’m sure as we come up on MLK day, I’m sure that Dr. King would be SO proud of your bigotry.


January 12th, 2010
1:01 am

I cheered for VICK not Eagles..big difference, this is the age of free agency where your favorite players just might play for another team. He didnt want to leave, he was ran out. Everyone needs to get off their high horse and realize it was just DOGS!! forgive the ignorant Lord

[...] Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff Pick Season MVPs [...]

The Boss

January 12th, 2010
7:35 am

“He was ran out” Nice job expressing WHAT you are. LMAO at you.


January 12th, 2010
7:45 am

Highlights: Grimes pick against NO (no not the one in NO, the one that got flagged in ATL). Second choice – Roddy White getting weigh-layed in NO while the ball was in the air resulting in a NO pick.

Yes those are a couple of several critical highlights (replay the Dallas game folks) that have the Falcons sitting at home during the playoffs.


January 12th, 2010
7:50 am

My 19th year as a season ticket holder: My MVPs: OFF – GONZALEZ; DEF – LOFTON; SPECL TEAM – WEEMS. NEEDS: WR (with hands), NEED ANOTHER WR (with speed/hands); SAM BAKER (move your feet!); REALLY LOVE THAT YOUNG SECONDARY; LOVE THE RUN DEFENSE EVEN MORE!! LOOKING FORWARD TO NEW SEASON, AS I ALWAYS HAVE…GO BIRDS!!! NOTE: Just renewed my season tickets for next year.


January 12th, 2010
8:09 am

Turner absolutely GASHING the Saints at the Superdome!