Quarterback D.J. Shockley, who was recently waived by the Falcons, will take part in the Omaha Nighthawks minicamp, which opens on Friday.
The Nighthawks are the newest team in the United Football League.
“I still feel as though my abilities are good enough to play in the NFL, but sometimes you have to take another road,” Shockley said. “So hopefully this great opportunity to play in the UFL and with the Nighthawks helps me get better as a quarterback.”
Shockley, the former Georgia and North Clayton High standout, was waived by the Falcons on July 9. Shockley, a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2006, never played a regular-season game for the team.
“When you play quarterback, it’s hard to get into somebody’s camp, especially this late,” Shockley said. “Then you’ve got to learn the system. You’ve got guys who’ve been there the whole offseason. It may be just harder to get into somebody’s camp than going here. Hopefully, this is a little better situation where I get a chance to compete and all of that kind of stuff. Right now, it seems like the best option.”
The Nighthawks are coached by former Falcons assistant coach Jeff Jagodzinski.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about him,” Shockley said. “I know he coached Matt (Ryan) at (Boston College).”
Shockley was the emergency quarterback for all 16 games in 2006 and 2008. He missed the 2007 season after suffering a preseason knee injury, missing an opportunity to play during the season in which Michael Vick was convicted of dog-fighting and the team used three different starting quarterbacks.
The Falcons will report to training camp on July 29 with starter Matt Ryan and backups Chris Redman and John Parker Wilson under contract.
“It definitely hurt, I’m not even going to lie,” Shockley said about being waived. “It hurt to be released and not get a chance to go out and compete and show what I can do in the preseason games. I was definitely devastated by the news and wondering why it happened and everything. But everything happens for a reason. This is business.”
Shockley’s camp hopes that he can win the starting job and get some film of him playing. They think that playing time right now will give him a chance to show NFL teams that he can play as opposed to going to another team and being their clipboard carrier.
The UFL was founded in 2007 and played it’s first season in 2009. The Falcons signed kicker Matt Bryant last season after he’d competed in the UFL.