Archive for May, 2011

Cheerleaders to premiere new reality show at launch party

101128 Atlanta - The Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders perform between the 1st and 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.  Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

The 2011 cheer squad is set to make their first public appearance on Thursday. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

The 2011 cheerleaders are set to make their first public appearance Thursday at the W Atlanta in Buckhead.

The squad will celebrate the launch of their new reality TV show, New South: Making the Team with the Atlanta Falcons

The five-episode series will then air exclusively on XFINITY On Demand from Comcast.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Falcons will not scrimmage the Raiders next week

Bengals Raiders Football

UPDATE, 4:39 P.M., Thursday

Two leaders of the Falcons’ seven-on-seven workouts told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Thursday’s workout that they have not been contacted by the Oakland Raiders about having a passing camp scrimmage and doubted that they would agree to such a scrimmage.

The Raiders are set to hold a passing camp next week in Duluth, less than 10 miles from where the Falcons are set to workout.

The Falcons expressed a concern about players getting injured in a competitive environment during the lockout.

ORIGINAL POST

About 40 members of the Oakland Raiders are set to hold their passing camp next Tuesday through Friday in Duluth.

Defensive end Richard Seymour, the former University of Georgia star, is hosting the camp that will be held at the Competitive Edge Sports complex.

Seymour will run the defense and quarterback Jason Campbell will lead the offense.

“Men, I hope that everyone is well and staying in shape because we are going to outwork everyone we …

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Q&A: Mike Peterson is a free agent, but hopes to return

Mike Peterson (53) chases down a play. (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

Mike Peterson (53) chases down a play. (Phil Skinner / pskinner@ajc.com)

LOCKOUT LAND — Despite that he’s a free agent, linebacker Mike Peterson is taking part in the Falcons’ unofficial offseason programs.

Like some other players in contract limbo because of the labor dispute, he could elect to remain away from the team and wait until he has a contract.

But Peterson is counting on things working out and returning for his third season with the club.

After a recent seven-on-seven practice, Peterson, the 12-year veteran who started last season at weakside linebacker, chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his role, returning to the team and mentoring the younger players on the team.

Q: How has your offseason been going?

A: It’s been going real good. I’ve just been training and spending a lot of time with my boys. I’m just trying to enjoy this rest while I can.

Q: How big of a sacrifice is it to come out here and hold these workouts?

A: It’s what we do. In order …

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Julio Jones cleared to run

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Alabama's Julio Jones (8) makes a catch for a touchdown as Georgia's Bryan Evans defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Wide receiver Julio Jones, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, was cleared to run on Tuesday.

“Heading back to Atlanta from Charlotte I had a recheck on my foot everything went great now I can start running#WINNING,” Jones tweeted at 4 p.m.

Jones, whom the Falcons traded up 21 spots to select in the NFL draft, has already been meeting with quarterback Matt Ryan and the wide receivers.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Matt Ryan oversees drills on his 26th birthday

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan before Tuesday's seven-on-seven passing drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan before Tuesday's seven-on-seven passing drills. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

MINICAMPVILLE – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gathered up more than 30 players to start the second week of seven-on-seven passing drills on Tuesday.

The players went through a brisk practice that lasted for a little over an hour.

Coy Wire, the team’s player representative, presided over the workout, while Ryan prepared the script. Linebacker Curtis Lofton, who was animated while dialing up some blitz packages, called the signals for the defense.

Before the workout, Ryan, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He shared his thoughts on attendance, the lockout ruling and how the sessions were progressing.

Q: How’s the attendance been?

A: It’s been good. It depends on who’s in town. We are fortunate that a lot of guys are here during the offseason. But at certain times people have to go do some …

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CALLING ALL FANS: Declining attendance @ local events

We are working on a story about declining attendance at local sports events. If you would like to be available for a possible interview on this subject, please e-mail Mike Tierney at tierneymike@yahoo.com.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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NO BULL: Falcons could reunite Bratkowski, Ochocinco

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco attempts to ride a bull named Deja Blu during an intermission at the Professional Bull Riders' Lucas Oil Invitation bull riding event in Duluth, Ga., Saturday, May 14, 2011. (By John Bazemore, Associated Press)

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco attempts to ride a bull named Deja Blu during an intermission at the Professional Bull Riders' Lucas Oil Invitation bull riding event in Duluth, Ga., Saturday, May 14, 2011. (By John Bazemore, Associated Press)

The Falcons could have the inside track to land six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Ochocinco if he becomes a free agent.

He’s currently under contract to the Cincinnati Bengals, but they could release him when the lockout is lifted.

The Falcons hired Bob Bratkowski, the Bengals former offensive coordinator, to be their new quarterbacks coach in February.

According to Ochocinco, Bratkowski has been a longtime supporter.

Bob Bratkowski has agreed to become the Falcons new quarterbacks coach. (Associated Press)

Former Cincinnati offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is the Falcons new quarterbacks coach. (Associated Press)

“Coach Bratkowski is the reason why I’m with the Bengals,” Ochocinco said after riding a bull at the Gwinnett Arena on Saturday. “He was my coach at the Senior Bowl when I was coming out. He went to …

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NFL owners win critical ruling in lockout case

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. They are facing an uphill legal battle, according to one attorney. Players could be back at work as early as Monday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Arthur Blank and the rest of the NFL owners won a crucial victory over the players in federal appeals court on Monday.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the owners a stay from an injunction that would have lifted the lockout that started on March 12.

“It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans,” read the NFL’s statement. “This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together …

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Q&A: Curtis Lofton recovering from offseason knee surgeries

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had his best game of the season, passing for almost 400 yards against the Falcons. (Associated Press).

Eli Manning couldn't run from "The Police" back in 2009. (Associated Press).

BIRDLANDWes Durham and Dave Archer, the Falcons’ fine radio announcers, like to refer to linebacker Curtis Lofton as “The Police.”

He has the nickname because of his uniform number, 50. One of the nicknames for the police is 5-0 as in the old television show, Hawaii 5-0. Durham and Archer have concluded that “teams can’t run from the Police.”

Lofton has racked up 345 tackles in his first three seasons in the league. Last season, Lofton appeared headed for the Pro Bowl last season before he slowed somewhat down the stretch while playing hurt.

After the season, he had surgery on both knees.

Lofton spent part of his rehab time working on his upper body strength and is now getting his legs back in shape.  Before going through seven-on-seven drills, Lofton recently chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Q: How has your offseason been?

A: The offseason has been pretty busy for me. I had a …

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Chad Ochocinco rode a bull for 1.5 seconds

Chad Ochocinco and PBR president Sean Gleason a hour or so before Ochocinco rode a bull at the Gwinnett Arean. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Chad Ochocinco and PBR president Sean Gleason a hour or so before Ochocinco rode a bull at the Gwinnett Arena. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco rode a bull for 1.5 seconds during intermission of a professional bull riding event on Saturday at the Gwinnett Arena.

The 10-year NFL veteran and six-time Pro Bowler, didn’t make it through one buck by Deja Blu, a 1,500-pound bull. He was nearly stomped by the Bulls’ back legs while scrambling to get out of the way.

“I was mad that I couldn’t ride it out of the chute,” said Ochocinco, who received a $10,000 appearance fee.

Ochocinco, who has been working out in Atlanta and running the track at the Marist School, started tweeting about riding a bull on twitter.com recently. Professional Bull Riders president Sean Gleason issued him a challenge.

Ochocinco practiced riding a bull on Friday and Saturday with Ty Murray, a nine-time world champion and Professional Bull Riding co-founder.

“A …

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