Archive for June, 2010

Falcons release training camp practice dates

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left, talks with head coach Mike Smith during the morning session on the second day of NFL football minicamp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left, talks with head coach Mike Smith during the morning session on the second day of NFL football minicamp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

BIRDLAND – It’s 35 days before the Falcons are due to report for training camp.

But go ahead and get your digital and paper calendars out. (Some of us old-schoolers still write stuff down on old paper calendars and planners! Some of you big-timers, can call your executive assistants into your swank offices and have them set your calendars.)

The team released the practice schedule and 20 of the sessions, including the practices with the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars, are open to the public.

In addition to the 18 practices, the team will hold its Falcons Allstate All-Access “Friday Night Lights” scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 6 at North Gwinnett High school.

Also the public will have access to …

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Falcons’ negotiator has been busy this offseason

Elwanda Weatherspoon and her son, Sean, the Falcons unsigned first round draft pick. (Brant Sutherlin/AJC)

Elwanda Weatherspoon and her son, Sean, the Falcons unsigned first round draft pick. (Brant Sutherlin/AJC)

BIRDLAND — I hope that everybody is well. Had to slip into a digital free zone to burn off some vacation time.

Also, I got two new bow ties (pink and blue) for Father’s Day and some bermuda shorts (blue and biege).

While I was gone, the front office continued to take care of its contract business. My man Nick Polk, the director of

Samuel L. Jackson used some strong arm tactics in "The Negotiator."

Samuel L. Jackson used some strong arm tactics in "The Negotiator."

football administration, has been busy.

While other teams around the league are fighting and fussing with their restricted free agents, the Falcons signed all of theirs relatively early in the process.

Do you all like my new bow ties? I'm going to wear the pink one with my seersucker suit.

Do you all like my new bow ties? I'm going to wear the pink one with my seersucker suit.

The key was placing the proper tenders on them and also the players — especially Tyson Clabo and his agent – understanding the nuances of the labor situation.

Below is a list of the 10 …

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Peterson, Davis and Babineaux have youth camps this weekend

Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue and Babineaux's Marketing Agent Cherry Bañez at the Celebration of Excellence ceremony that honored the class of 2010's foster care youth graduates. Babineaux was awarded the Celebration of Excellence's inaugural Community Service Award. (Cherry Bañez PR)

Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and First Lady Mary Perdue and Babineaux's Marketing Agent Cherry Bañez at the Celebration of Excellence ceremony that honored the class of 2010's foster care youth graduates. Babineaux was awarded the Celebration of Excellence's inaugural Community Service Award. (Cherry Bañez PR)

Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson will hold his youth football game on Saturday at Tri-Cities High. Registration for the camp is full.

If you didn’t get into Mike Pete’s game, you can still register for the fourth annual DTLR Football Clinic that starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Decatur High School.

Falcons Chauncey Davis and Jonathan Babineaux and Daniel Wilcox, an Atlanta native formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, will help to host the game that’s slated to handle 300 kids.

There will also be a recruting seminar for the parents.

“DTLR realizes sports is often time the dreams of many urban youth,” said DTLR Community Outreach Manager …

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Shann Schillinger signs four-year deal; Eric Ward waived

Stephen F. Austin running back Romonté Hampton is tackled at the Griz 2-yard line by free safety Shann Schillinger after being stripped of the ball by Griz linebacker Alex Shaw (not pictured) during the first quarter on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2009 in Missoula. (Associated Press)

Stephen F. Austin running back Romonté Hampton is tackled at the Griz 2-yard line by free safety Shann Schillinger after being stripped of the ball by Griz linebacker Alex Shaw (not pictured) during the first quarter on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2009 in Missoula. (Associated Press)

Safety Shann Schillinger, the team’s sixth round draft pick, was signed to a four-year contract, the team announced on Thursday.

In an unrelated move, the Falcons waived quarterback Eric Ward, who played at Southwest DeKalb High.

Eric Ward was impressive enough at the minicamp to land a contract with the Falcons. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Eric Ward was impressive enough at the minicamp to land a contract with the Falcons. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Schillinger, 6-foot, 200 pounds, played at Montana. Over his four year career with the Grizzlies he tallied 255 tackles, 19 passes defensed and 10 interceptions.

Last season, Schillinger played in 15 games and had 90 tackles, four interceptions and six passes defensed. The Grizzilies reached the Football Championship Sub-Division (formerly Division I-AA) national …

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WR Brian Finneran takes us inside the passing camp

The fish story of the day is no fish story, as Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie falls into Lake Lanier but comes up smiling as his boat returns to the dock on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Atlanta Falcons players and coaches paid tribute to 18 wounded military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan during a special fishing outing from Van Pugh Park North. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

The fish story of the day is no fish story, as Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie falls into Lake Lanier but comes up smiling as his boat returns to the dock on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Atlanta Falcons players and coaches paid tribute to 18 wounded military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan during a special fishing outing from Van Pugh Park North. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons wide receiver group was not pleased with the showing by assistant coach Terry Robiskie at the fishing outing with the military veterans at Lake Lanier on Tuesday.

Wide receiver Brian Finneran. (By Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

Wide receiver Brian Finneran. (By Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

Robiskie went overboard when his boat was returning to the dock.

“He threw himself in,” wide receiver Brian Finneran said. “When you are a non-athlete like that, you start showing your age. He embarrassed the receiving corps and himself for that matter. It was unfortunate.”

The trip with the veterans was a break in the action this week …

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OTAs: Brent Grimes suffers hamstring injury

Thomas DeCoud congratulates Brent Grimes, who led the team with six interceptions. (Kathy Willens/AP)

Thomas DeCoud congratulates Brent Grimes, who led the team with six interceptions. (Kathy Willens/AP)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Cornerback Brent Grimes, who started eight games last season and led the Falcons with six interceptions, suffered an injured hamstring and did not participate in organized team activities on Wednesday.

Grimes is expected to be in the mix for the open starting cornerback spot. He’ll have to beat out Brian Williams, Christopher Owens and Chevis Jackson for the starting spot.

“It’s going to be the most competitive s position group in terms of who’s going to be our starters,” Falcons coach Mik Smith said. “We brought in Dunta Robinson to play one of the corners. I think the other corner is going to be very interesting to see who wins that job.”

Grimes was in the top 25 players league-wide to receive additional salary as part of the league’s “Performance-Based Pay” program.

Grimes received an additional $282,484, which ranked 15th in the league.

Brian Williams had an impact in his first game. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

Brian Williams is …

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Matt Ryan to throw out first pitch at Braves game

Will quarterback Matt Ryan be the mystery guest?

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been working on his fast ball at OTAs.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Atlanta Braves face Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Ryan was the captain of his high school baseball team.

Ryan recenlty participated in  linebacker Coy Wire charity golf outing in Hummelstown, Pa.

You can follow the Falcons Beat and Falcons Fan blogs on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

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Falcons shoot commercial for NFL’s Play 60 campaign

The Falcons are doing their part to help fight childhood obesity.

The Falcons are doing their part to help fight childhood obesity.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, his wife Stephanie, general manager Thomas Dimitroff, head coach Mike Smith and host of other players were involved in a two hour commercial shoot at the team’s facilities on Tuesday.

The National Football League sent a production crew to shoot a PLAY 60 national commercial that will air during the season. The league’s PLAY 60 campaign is designed is designed to encourage kids to be active at least 60 minutes a day with a goal of tackling childhood obesity.

100509 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank checks out the arm brace of outside tackle # 72 Sam Baker during day 3 of minicamp in Flowery Branch on Sunday, May 9, 2010. Baker, drafted by the Falcons 21st overall in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, has been battling injuries.    Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100509 Flowery Branch – Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank checks out the arm brace of outside tackle # 72 Sam Baker during day 3 of minicamp in Flowery Branch on Sunday, May 9, 2010. Baker, drafted by the Falcons 21st overall in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, has been battling injuries. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Kids can learn how to get active at NFLRUSH.com. And fans have the chance to get involved today …

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Steve Sabo hired by Falcons as area scout

Steve Sabo, 36, who spent the previous 11 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, was hired by the Falcons as an area scout on Tuesday.

Sabo served as the Browns’ senior director of pro personnel in 2009, was responsible for scouting NFL teams and assisted with advance scouting of upcoming opponents. In addition to his scouting responsibilities, he played a role in

Steve Sabo
Steve Sabo

the acquisition of unrestricted free agents and preparation for the NFL Draft.

“We are excited about the addition of Steve to our scouting department,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team. “Steve has15 years of scouting experience and possess an adept scouting perspective that we feel will mesh well with our scouting philosophy and scouting department.”

Before joining the Browns, Sabo, a native of Willingboro, N.J. who graduated from Kutztown University in 1993,  spent five seasons with the New Orleans Saints as an administrative assistant and scout.

Sabo is …

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Falcons sign third round pick Corey Peters

Corey Peters was a three-year starter for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Corey Peters was a three-year starter for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters, one of the Falcons third round draft picks, signed a four-year contract worth $3.297 million with team on Tuesday.

Peters, the 83rd pick overall, played at Kentukcy and was a three-year starter. Peters, who received a $767,000 signing bonus on his 22nd birthday,  is the first Falcons draft pick to sign this season. They also selected Alabama offensive lineman Mike Johnson in the third round, 98th overall.

“The Falcons organization was great,” said Greg Linton, Peters’ Louisville-based agent. “We both wanted a fair deal and I think we achieved that. We worked out the details last night and kind of agreed to it this morning.”

Peters, 6-3, 305 pounds,  made the SEC Academic honor roll twice at Kentucky.

“I got to call Corey and tell him that he was signing the contract on his birthday, that was a good feeling, ” Linton said.

Peters, who was projected to go in the fourth round, was …

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