FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems was named the NFC special teams player for the week, according to team.
Weems set a franchise-record with a 102-yard kickoff return to help spark the Falcons to a 28-24 victory over Tampa Bay.
Weems is also the team’s top tackler on special teams with 11.
“We are only out there for one snap,” Weems said. “For that one snap, you have to give it all that you’ve got.”
The previous club record of 100 yards was held by Darrick Vaughn (2000), Deion Sanders (1991), and Dennis Pearson (1978). The last time the Falcons had a kickoff return for a touchdown was December 15, 2002 when Allen Rossum ran a kick back 91 yards for a score against Seattle. Additionally, Weems ranks second in the NFL in kickoff returns with a 28.1 yards per return average.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Bethune-Cookman, Weems is having one of the best seasons of his career as he is on pace for a career-high 1,313 return yards.
Weems is the fourth Falcon to earn player of the week honors this season and he joins kicker Matt Bryant as the second Falcon to take special teams player of the week honors, with Bryant winning the award with game-winning field goals in Week 4 and Week 12.
Wide receiver Roddy White believes Weems could be getting some consideration for the Pro Bowl as the top special teams player in the NFC.
“Yes, he should be the first special teams player to be in the Pro Bowl, right now,” White said. “He’s done a terrific job of just going down there and making plays. Last week he made a real big play with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter to help us out. It was really the momentum changer in the game that gave us that spark that we needed to win down the stretch. Yes he should be the first special team player on the Pro Bowl ballot.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter