Falcons part ways with Finneran, Williams

Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran puts a move on Carolina cornerback C.J. Wilson, picking up first down yardage with Panthers head coach John Fox looking on during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran puts a move on Carolina cornerback C.J. Wilson, picking up first down yardage with Panthers head coach John Fox looking on during 1st half action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The Falcons do not plan to re-sign wide receiver Brian Finneran and cornerback Brian Williams, according to their agents.

Representatives from the team had conversations with agents Glenn Schwartzman and Jordan Feagan during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

However, the team did leave the door open for the players to return to the team once the labor situation is resolved.

“They know what he’s meant in their locker room, but they felt they wanted to give some of the younger receivers a chance to step up,” Schwartzman said.

Finneran, who turned 35 in January, has been with the Falcons since 2000. He played in all 17 games last season and made one start.

Over 11 seasons, he caught 236 passes for 3,072 yards and 19 touchdowns. He battled back from a severe knee injury that forced him to miss the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

He has been credited with helping with the development of All Pro wide receiver Roddy White.

Williams, who will turn 32 in July, was the team’s third cornerback for most of last season. He’s battled knee injuries over the last two seasons.

The team does not comment about personnel decisions.

However, in an exclusive interview with the AJC, head coach Mike Smith talked about the team creating more explosive plays on offense next season.

He also said that he expects wide receivers Harry Douglas, Kerry Meier and Eric Weems to have increased roles in the offense.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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134 comments Add your comment

Bjohndawg

March 1st, 2011
9:54 pm

Williams too?
I understand Fin
thought wiliams played well when not injured

INTHEKNOW

March 1st, 2011
9:59 pm

First? Ok second! I hope the Falcons look to draft or sign a WR with some height to replae Finn.

INTHEKNOW

March 1st, 2011
9:59 pm

Matt Chernoff

March 1st, 2011
10:08 pm

I always liked B-Finn co-hosting on 680 anyway. Dump Leo! OMG!

TheManMike

March 1st, 2011
10:13 pm

This is good news for the team. There is a lot of talent in this draft and we need young, fast guys with good hands and good feet. Go Falcons.

Tyler

March 1st, 2011
10:23 pm

WHY?
WHY Brian Williams he was good while not injured. I, too, understand finneran, all that he basically did was help out in special teams, at end of games, and catch every now and then

FALCONS YOU BETTER GET DE AND WR HELP IN DRAFT…(if there even is a Draft)

BROG

March 1st, 2011
10:24 pm

Did anyone else notice Smitty did not reference Jenkins at all in the segment about the #2 receiver?

Rick

March 1st, 2011
10:26 pm

Fin, you will be missed. you are a class act. Roddy white said that if it was not for you he would have never grown up and settled down.
You have come back from 2 major knee blow outs and gave it your all.
You are da man.
I have met you at camp and you were very kind to my 10yr old son.
Thank you for everything !

fish

March 1st, 2011
10:27 pm

Thanks Fin for the great plays.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 1st, 2011
10:31 pm

(FROM MY INTERVIEW WITH COACH SMITH)
Q: What’s your receiver situation going forward? A lot of people contend that you need a number-two receiver.

A: It’s a very solid receiving corps, of course led by Roddy White. I think there will be a jump in production from Harry Douglas because it’s going to be his second year recovering from his knee surgery. Even though Harry was ready to go when the season started, he wasn’t 100 percent.

As the season progressed, he got better and better. I think it was evident in the Carolina game [in Charlotte on Dec. 12] when he caught the deep ball. Harry will be an integral part of what we want to do.

We will get Kerry Meier back. We were very impressed with him during the preseason. We felt that he was going to be a guy who could contribute not only on offense, but on special teams as well. He’s ahead of schedule as well in terms of his rehabilitation.

Eric Weems was a playmaker on special teams. He did not have a whole lot of opportunities on offense, but he is a guy who can be more involved in the offense.

skydawg

March 1st, 2011
10:42 pm

That is a real bummer. We all knew it was coming though. But I’d take an entire team of Brian Finnerans and kick butt all day long. He’s been a warrior when his body kept telling him to quit and the most clutch receiver we’ve had since he’s been here. Never a guy of tremendous splash but just had a knack for making a big catch for a conversion on 3rd and long. And also a tremendous special teams player. Thanks for your efforts Fin, they didn’t go unnoticed.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 1st, 2011
10:46 pm

Finn was always nice to the media. Even after busting up his knee and missing two whole seasons he never turned down an interview request. He had to be mentally tough to come back from those knee injuries.

JacobHall86

March 1st, 2011
10:48 pm

Gonna miss Fin, liked that guy. He played well. They should have gotten rid of Robinson. Guy blew easy plays the entire second half of the season, most notably the game against the Saints in the Dome.

waynester

March 1st, 2011
10:52 pm

Both these guys made some HUGE plays that saved games for us this past season and Finn has been awesome for years. They’re older now and I agree with the decision but have to acknowledge that both these vets contributions will be missed more than some might think. Jenkins doesn’t seem to be leader that Finn was yet we will need some of these other guys to step up and fill the veteran leadership void. I haven’t seen much leadership out of Dunta, either. Tony G.,Todd McClure and Finn have been our “lead by example” guys and after this season, all 3 will probably be gone along with Abraham. This is a critical draft for this team and I hope league turmoil doesn’t prevent us from making the needed moves in FA….

Falcons 4 Real

March 1st, 2011
10:57 pm

Tyler, there will be a 2011 draft, it’s everything else that’s in question.
It’s hard to see Finn’s playing days as a Falcon come to an end but it’s my belief we’ll see him in the PR office as soon as he hangs up his cletes. Think about the fact he’s quietly had a productive tenure with this team longer than the likes of Deion Sanders, Gerald Riggs, William Andrews, Andre Rison, Terence Mathis, Chuck Smith and Jamie Dukes and as long as Steve Bartkowski’s. In this day of free agency it says a lot.

Falcons Fanatic

March 1st, 2011
11:01 pm

@ BROG I was going to say the same thing. I hope this means Jenkins wont be the #2 WR for long either way he wont be becuase he is going to be a free agent agent this season,THANK GOD!!!!

Chuck Sheen

March 1st, 2011
11:03 pm

Love Fin. Total Pro. When his career is over I hope the organization brings him back in some form or another. He was a great example to the younger receivers…

PMC

March 1st, 2011
11:20 pm

THANKS 86!!!

I’ll always pull for Villanova for Finn.

DHD

March 1st, 2011
11:22 pm

I’m sad about losing Finneran. What a fighter.

An Adult

March 1st, 2011
11:32 pm

Love Finn and like Williams.
It would be nice to comment and write something on Williams in an article that has his name DOL… geez, earn your keep. Just because the world is full of sound bites only doesn’t mean this can’t be informative. I would guess you missed that day of journalism class or you are just lazy.

OldColdDirtyBird

March 1st, 2011
11:36 pm

Go get Sindney Rice ASAP!

Iceman

March 1st, 2011
11:37 pm

I heart Finneran..great player, and a cool guy. Best wishes to him.

Tom

March 1st, 2011
11:43 pm

I am still waiting for an announcement that the Falcons have parted ways with Brent Grimes. He had his moments last season. If you look at his overall performance since becoming a starter. He has been beaten more times than when he blocks or intercepts a pass. His effort is 110%. He just does not match up with all the much taller receivers in the league.

JD

March 1st, 2011
11:55 pm

Et tu Finneran? Semper Fi sir, you will always be the man in my book. Guys come and go in this league, but in this mans opinion, Finneran deserved more than he got from the Falcons. Lets hope they find someplace in the organization for him to coach or be in the front office in some capacity.

Bird

March 1st, 2011
11:56 pm

Any news on Norwood?

PaulieOldSchool

March 2nd, 2011
12:20 am

I hope we can bring Finn back. Great person, great hands, reliable receiver. Could block, too. Great motivator and possession receiver. Actually, always a little surprised he lasted this long. Not taking anything away from him, just made me realize he was more special than most people thought. I will miss him. On the other hand, I have been waiting almost a year now for Kerry Meier, who I think is gonna be very special for us. Jenkins has GOT to step it up or we need to part ways. Period. He’s not a legitimate #2 at this point for us.

Falcons for Champs!!

March 2nd, 2011
12:36 am

to replace Williams i see a guy like the kid out of South Carolina, who ran a 4.3 at the combine and has great hips, amazing ball skills, and I heard he comes up and tackles as well.I would draft Ras I Dowling as well…..Anybody see a receiving core of Roddy,Braylon Edwards,Jenkins,Douglas,Weems?!?!?

Trade Up

March 2nd, 2011
12:40 am

good move—both of these players don’t have it anymore—a waste of money.

usmc

March 2nd, 2011
12:49 am

“Warriors” dont play little boy games. Warriors put their lives on the line for their country.I’m sure Mr Finneran is a very nice man, and has excelled with his talents, playing a GAME. He is NOT a warrior!!!!!

David

March 2nd, 2011
1:04 am

:(
Brian Finneran was one of the good ones.

Hold On One Minute!

March 2nd, 2011
2:21 am

“Warriors” dont play little boy games. Warriors put their lives on the line for their country…

FAIL!

Why don’t you tell that to Pat Tillman’s family?

How about the cadets who play at the military academies?

Let’s not get all high and mighty because one doesn’t become a warrior just by signing up to serve. There are people who survive in unpleasant situations who are just as tough as most of those that serve.

A real warrior doesn’t have to denigrate another man’s accomplishments because warriors have honor. The person putting down Finneran has no honor and shouldn’t be using those particular initials.

Tuesday NFL Wrap

March 2nd, 2011
3:09 am

[...] part ways with Finneran, Williams (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) The Falcons do not plan to re-sign wide receiver Brian Finneran and cornerback Brian Williams, [...]

monkeyrooster

March 2nd, 2011
3:59 am

Thats a real shame…..about Finneran anyway. He was and I still believe a great player and teammate. Finn you will be missed, especially on 3rd down.

rudy

March 2nd, 2011
4:12 am

he was a true dirty bird…..thx finn

notso fast

March 2nd, 2011
5:56 am

Finneran was a very good player that did his job and didn’t give management any problems. You hate to see him leave but you know that his best days are behind him and the Falcons need more than he can give now. I think he will still be involved in sports (talk shows etc) for some time.

FALCLOWNS are LOSERS

March 2nd, 2011
6:02 am

Yawn….why write about the LOSER FALCLOWNS….new movie this fall coming to the redneck, ghetto ATL metro area -RINGLESS IN ATLANTA starring Roddy Thug White, Matty ICE Melt and Cheesy Artie….what a LOSER FRANCHISE…who dat? You ain’t dat!

#1 Blank Fan

March 2nd, 2011
6:31 am

Hate to read this, but agree it’s time. I always pulled for Finneran. Without the injuries I can’t help but wonder if he is not the number 2 to Roddy. I think his playing days are limited, but with the respect he has given those in the media I wonder if he might not have a couple people knocking at his door. Just goes to show, always treat everyone with respect because you never know which one of those people you may be calling on one day. Great career, you will be missed Finn and you will always be a Falcon regardless of who signs your paycheck.

Respectfully,
Me…..Mikey D

PlanB

March 2nd, 2011
6:34 am

@ tom – Grimes will be one of the best corners in the league. Height at corner is not the essential element in being good. If we lose him we will be sorry. We had a pretty good nickel corner in B. Williams then C. Owens went in to sub for him (due to injury) in the GB game. What was wrong with Owens. He was awful. Did he forget everything he had learned?

So long Fin – good job.

#1 Blank Fan

March 2nd, 2011
6:42 am

USMC, my brother, why would you post this? For us as long as you live with Honor, Courage, and Commitment you are a great Marine. And I have found the same in civilian life. See the below definition, so in fact I believe Finneran was a warrior and a great football player. Semper Fi
Teufel Hunden.

war·ri·or  (wôr-r, wr-)
n.
1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.
2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict

robertussen

March 2nd, 2011
6:48 am

they will both be missed. mieir will replace finn, but owns aint no williams we need a new nickle back

Marko

March 2nd, 2011
6:53 am

Thankyou Finn

#1 Blank Fan

March 2nd, 2011
6:58 am

GI, who the he77 are you? We signed the paper to join the worlds most elite fighting force in hopes of the right to fight for the freedoms we are allowed. And then we dutifully followed the orders passed down from our comander in chief, who by the way was elected by the majority of the US. Would you have the majority of our military on the front lines refusing orders because the media says there is a more important battle to be fought somewhere else? I think not, we follow orders, we win the battle and voice our opinions at the ballot box. It’s not brain washing, it’s called following orders in an effort to defend our great nation. But I digress.

Go Falcons and good luck Fin!

SeenThisB4

March 2nd, 2011
7:22 am

As a Saints fan, I’m sad to see both Finn and Williams go. These two guys were both as fast as telephone poles and could always be counted on to get burnt. Won’t be difficult for Smith to find replacements of their caliber.

Buckeye

March 2nd, 2011
7:24 am

I hope the Falcons keep Finn. Class guy. Clutch guy. Represents the Franchise well. If not on the field, some sort of sideline role. He can still contribute, pads or not.

Tom Ace

March 2nd, 2011
7:28 am

Class less move by a class less organization!

True Falcon Fan

March 2nd, 2011
7:31 am

Hey B4 – you are starting it early “Good Buddy” – you got anything GOOD to say about the ain’ts?????????

gadawgs

March 2nd, 2011
7:36 am

Tom..Have to disagree with you regarding Grimes. He may be a little small but he is a baller. He is better than our overpriced other corner namely Mr. Robinson. Thanks Fin for all you have done for the team. Your efforts have been appreciated. I had ACL replacement and I know how hard it is to come back from and I was not playing in the NFL. You did it twice.

Ricky Grooms

March 2nd, 2011
7:45 am

I never noticed it before, but it’s hard to tell the difference between aint’s fans and uga fans.

BirdDog

March 2nd, 2011
7:51 am

Why wasn’t Owens cut instead? BW, even at his age, is much better than Owens. I guess the injuries led to his departure. But Owens is still terrible.

fanoffalcons

March 2nd, 2011
8:05 am

Can’t the staff bring Finneran on as a wide receivers coach? Just as has been mentioned, he is a class act and a great receiver, his presence in Atlanta would be good for all.