Archive for June, 2011

10 things we learned from Camp Exile

110604  Buford - Quarterback Matt Ryan throws the football  during the Atlanta Falcons player workout at Buford Park  on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. A core of Falcons players are carrying on with off-season practices at the park, despite the NFL lockout.  That's William Moore and Brent Grimes in the background.  Johnny Crawford  jcrawford@ajc.com

110604 Buford – Quarterback Matt Ryan throws the football during the Atlanta Falcons player workout at Buford Park on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. A core of Falcons players are carrying on with off-season practices at the park, despite the NFL lockout. That's William Moore and Brent Grimes in the background. Johnny Crawford jcrawford@ajc.com

Buford — The Falcons wrapped up their unofficial offseason program with the closing of “Camp Exile” on Wednesday.

During the NFL Lockout they tried to a normal offseason as quarterback Matt Ryan led the organized team activities.

In a surprise move, rookie Julio Jones was a regular at the practices after he was medically cleared from his foot surgery.

The Falcons, with between 20 to 35 players at the practices, actually went a week longer than what would have been allowed under league rules.

Here are the 10 things we learned from the practices:

1.    Jones should be ready to go: After the last practice, Jones spent some extra time on the …

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NFL Lockout: Rookie cap could cost Julio Jones millions

110604 Buford - Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones prepares to grab the football in front of Brent Grimes during the Atlanta Falcons player workout at Buford Park on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. A core of Falcons players are carrying on with off-season practices at the park, despite the NFL lockout. Johnny Crawford jcrawford@ajc.com

110604 Buford – Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones prepares to grab the football in front of Brent Grimes during the Atlanta Falcons player workout at Buford Park on Wednesday, June 8, 2011. A core of Falcons players are carrying on with off-season practices at the park, despite the NFL lockout. Johnny Crawford jcrawford@ajc.com

Buford – Falcons rookie Julio Jones is not too worried about possibly losing millions if a rookie salary cap is implemented in the new collective bargaining agreement.

“I love football,” said Jones after practice on Wednesday. “It plays a part, but at the same time I can’t worry about that. It’s out of my hands. The best thing I can do is come out here and play football.”

Last season, Seattle selected Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick. He signed a six-year contract that was worth $48.5 million. A total of $30 million of the deal was guaranteed.

During the labor negotiations both sides have generally agreed that money going to …

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NFL Lockout: Goodell, Smith issue joint statement

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith (right).  AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith (right). AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The NFL labor meetings concluded today outside of Boston.

There are multiple media reports that the talks were fruitful, but that there are still many more miles to travel before a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Falcons president Rich McKay left the meeting without commenting, according to a tweet from Mike Giardi of  Comcast Sports Net in New England.

#Falcons President Rich McKay blew outta here like his hair was on fire. Suffice to say “no comment” was best he could do.

However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith stood together and made statements to media.

Commissioner Goodell: “You obviously know we met over the last couple of days. We are under court order as far as what we can discuss so our comments will be brief. But obviously we’re all working hard. The players and owners were here over the …

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Q&A: Brent Grimes says the defense improved at Camp Exile

Brent Grimes checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Brent Grimes checking in at the Pro Bowl.

BUFORD – The mood was light on the final day of the Falcons’ players-only workout, which has become known as “Camp Exile” during the NFL’s player lockout.

All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White shifted over to defense and played a little cornerback. However, he didn’t appear ready to become the franchise’s next two-way player.

He got beat on a couple of routes up the sideline and across the middle.

“It’s was very fun,” wide receiver Julio Jones said. “Roddy White is a great athlete. He came out and played a little corner and receiver. I got him one time in the end zone.”

We had Matt Ryan wrap up the camp from the offense’s perspective yesterday. The plan was to get middle linebacker Curtis Lofton to talk about the defense today. But Lofton, who’d been the “coach” for the defense, had to see a knee specialist in Cleveland, Ohio and missed the last session.

So instead of Lofton, we got Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes to address the …

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Falcons to get first shot to re-sign Jason Snelling

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010.  (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Atlanta Falcons running back Jason Snelling (44) runs into the end zone past Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson for the first of two touchdowns during 2nd quarter action for a 17-7 lead at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

While the offensive line could be decimated by free agency,  Falcons running back Jason Snelling may also be a hot commodity in free agency.

With just four years needed to reach unrestricted status, Snelling would be free to negotiation with all 32 teams if that proposal is ratified in a new collective bargaining agreement.

Snelling has served as Michael Turner’s main backup for the last two seasons. Snelling talked with Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on Wednesday and left the door open for a possible return to the Falcons.

“I’m going to talk to the Falcons,” Snelling said. “They are the team that drafted me. I love the organization. I love my teammates and my staff. But I have to explore my …

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Domestic case against Christopher Owens dismissed

Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens at a recent players-only practice in Buford.

Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens at a recent players-only practice in Buford.

In a family violence hearing, the case against Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens was dismissed in Superior Court of Gwinnett County on Wednesday, according to Randall M. Kessler, Owens’ attorney.

Owens and Latia Terry, 22, of Lawrenceville, have a 9-month-old child together. She alleged that her apartment was ransacked and that some personal items were destroyed on June 12.

Owens contended that that Terry was not happy with their relationship and was seeking “revenge.”

“He’s is pleased that she decided to dismiss the case,” Kessler said. “He looks forward to working with her to raise their son together.”

Owens and Terry agreed to work together to establish parental rights and shared parenting time.

According to a Gwinnett County police incident report, Terry told officers that she left her apartment at 11 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, and when she returned home late Monday morning, the door was …

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NFL Labor Update: O-line could be decimated in free agency

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure and Justin Blalock (Sam Baker not pictured) received kudos from Coach John Madden last season. Clabo, Blalock and Dahl could all be free agents under a new collective bargaining agreement. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Tyson Clabo (right), Harvey Dahl and Todd McClure and Justin Blalock (Sam Baker not pictured) received kudos from Coach John Madden last season. Clabo, Blalock and Dahl could all be free agents under a new collective bargaining agreement. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

ESPN is reporting some of the proposed details of a collective bargaining agreement that the league shared with the NFL Owners.

Details of a proposed collective bargaining agreement being pitched to NFL owners Tuesday, according to sources:

• Players get 48 percent of “all revenue.”

• Players’ share will never dip below 46.5 percent, under new formula being negotiated.

• Teams required to spend close to 100 percent of the salary cap.

• Rookie wage scale part of deal but still being “tweaked.”

Four years needed for unrestricted free-agent status. Certain tags will be retained, but still being discussed.

• 18-game regular season designated only as negotiable item and at no point is mandated in deal.

• New …

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NFL high school 7-on-7 tournament at Grady High

Shoes

Falcons assistant strength and conditioning coach Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, right, a former Pro Bowl player, shows he still has a little left in the tank as he steps in to cover Falcons wide receiver #84 Roddy White as he runs a pass route drill during morning practice at Flowery Branch, Monday, August 6, 2007. (PHOTO BY CURTIS COMPTON/staff)

BIRDLAND –  Eight Georgia high school teams will participate in the NFL’s high school player development program’s  seven-on-seven regional tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday at Grady High School.

The tournament is sponsored by the National Guard through the NFL Youth Football Fund. It’s free and open to the public.

“One thing that the National Guard does well is focus on teamwork and what better way to do that than to partner with the NFL? It’s a great deal, truthfully,  because they both stress the importance of this principle and maximize both teamwork and character development within their programs,” Former Falcons player and executive …

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Q&A: Matt Ryan believes workouts have been a success

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talking with the media after Tuesday's seven-on-seven practice.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talking with the media after Tuesday's seven-on-seven practice.

BUFORD – The Falcons are set to wrap up “Camp Exile” with their final seven-on-seven practice on Wednesday.

A core group of 20 to 35 players have been working out twice-a-week since May 10 about 10 miles from the team’s facilities.

Last year, the organized team activities concluded on June 18, so the players-only workouts have gone a few days over.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, linebacker Curtis Lofton and player representative Coy Wire have been instrumental in getting the players together.

Ryan spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about what he thinks the team achieved this offseason after Tuesday’s workout. (We’ll get Lofton’s take after tomorrow’s practice.)

Q: Did you all take advantage of this dead time and make something good happen?

A: I think obviously with the lockout and the situation that we were in, it was not a great situation in order to get prepared for next season. …

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Roddy White’s top 5 wide receivers in the NFL

Andre Johnson (Associated Press)

Andre Johnson (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White gave his list of the top five players at his position when he appeared on the NFL Network’s Total Access show on Monday.

In a classy move, he omitted himself from the group.

Here’s his top five:

5. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia

4. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis

3. Calvin Johnson, Detroit

2. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

1. Andre Johnson, Houston

Check out the video.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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