RADIO ROW – After the Pro Football Writers of America meeting (yours truly is second vice president), I caught up with Falcons coach Mike Smith and owner Arthur Blank while they were working radio row. (Missed Thomas Dimitroff, who made his rounds on Thursday).
Smith talked with the local shows. He talked with Doc Walker and John Thompson from the D.C. station.
He spent some time with old friends in Baltimore and Jacksonville. He made several other stops. So did Blank.
Smith was not distracted from his interview when Snoop Dogg and his entourage passed by on their way to an interview with Tiki Barber for Yahoo! Sports. Actors/Entertainers Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, David Spade, Usher and Jamie Foxx were some of the other celebs getting in their football fix on radio row.
In between visits, Smith, who I don’t believe is familiar with Mr. Dogg’s work, gave us some important updated medical information.
RYAN AND TURNER UPDATE: The teams’ two major offensive weapons, running back Michael Turner (high ankle sprain) and quarterback Matt Ryan (turf toe), are nursing their injuries.
“Both of those guys are spending some time with our rehab people,” Smith said. “The big thing for them is to be non-active on those body parts.“
DOUGLAS UPDATE: Wide receiver Harry Douglas, who missed last season with a knee injury, passed through radio row with his parents.
“Harry has done a very good job throughout the entire season,” Smith said. “He’s still involved in his rehabilitation. He’s getting closer to actually getting out and doing some work on the field.”
FINNERAN UPDATE: Wide receiver Brian Finneran suffered a knee injury late last season.
“Brian Finneran’s was non-surgical,” Smith said. “It is just a matter of getting enough time off the knee so that he’ll be prepared and ready to go for mini-camp.”
NOT TALKING ABOUT PEPPERS: Smith also shared that the coaching staff has been evaluating the potential free agent class. Later in the month, they’ll switch gears to the combine.
I asked him about Carolina’s Julius Peppers and if the Falcons were interested. (I knew he couldn’t answer, but I asked anyway. Smitty didn’t want to get another fine from Commish Goodell!)
“Until free agency opens (on March 5th), we can’t talk about (other players),” Smith said.