FLOWERY BRANCH – Defensive end Jamaal Anderson had a wide grin on his face after practice on Saturday.
He’d just finished talking to about 30 football players from the Alabama School for the Deaf, who had made the ride over from Talladega.
Anderson’s father, Glenn, is deaf.
“I was signing to the kids individually, but when I spoke to the whole group I had an interpreter to relay my message,” Anderson said. “I was just telling them that I appreciate them coming out here. I know they didn’t have to come here.”
Anderson grew up signing and has talked about how his father didn’t use his impairment as an excuse and how he earned a doctorate degree.
“I told them that I was proud to represent the deaf community out here because I feel like nobody in the NFL is doing it,” Anderson said. “It’s a strong feeling in my heart to have something to represent. I told them to stay focused and have a great season, stay injury free and keep you hopes alive because anything can come true.”
Anderson said some of the players wanted a piece of him.
“Some of the offensive linemen wanted to try to rough me up,” Anderson said. “I told that I was sore from (the scrimmage).”
He said they knew their football.
“They wanted to see Matt Ryan, John Parker Wilson and Roddy White,” Anderson said. “They know their football. They just wanted to be regular and see guys out here playing football.”