Archive for June, 2011

Falcons sense NFL lockout could be over soon

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during practice on January 26, 2011 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during practice on January 26, 2011 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

Buford – The Falcons’ seven-on-seven practice on Tuesday was the most spirited one in weeks.

Perhaps, it was the first appearance of Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White or it may have been the news that the NFL Lockout could be coming to a close in two weeks, according to the Washington Post.

“Hopefully, they can get it done,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. “I’ve seen kind of the same reports that everybody else has seen. Like I’ve said all along, I’ve got good faith in both sides that we’ll come to an agreement and be able to get this worked out so that we can get back to work.”

Ryan and the rest of the Falcons hope that a deal is reached by early July, which would give them time to get ready for the normal start of training camp. The Falcons reported for training camp on July 29 last season.

Also, an early July settlement would allow for teams …

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Matt Ryan lines up with White and Jones

Roddy White checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Roddy White checking in at the Pro Bowl.

Buford – Falcons Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White didn’t want to chat after taking part in his first players-only practice on Tuesday.

Perhaps, he was tired after running several 100-yard sprints because the offense lost a challenge to the defense at the end of practice.

“No interviews, baby,” White said. “I came out here to work. The first day of training camp, y’all got me.”

White has attended two other workouts, but wasn’t comfortable with the field turf. Also, last week he held a football camp in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. He’s been working out alone and appeared to be in great shape.

“He’s been having a really good offseason,” Ryan said. “I thought he was really productive today. He was himself. He was out here running around, joking and doing his thing. I think it was good for Julio [Jones] to see how Roddy does his thing and get a couple of tidbits here and there. All in all, it was very productive.”

Ryan couldn’t …

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Sanders sends his Falcons helmet and ball to Hall of Fame

Deion Sanders visited the team facilities with his youth football team last summer. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Deion Sanders visited the team facilities with his youth football team last summer. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the arrival of Deion Sander’s helmet and a game ball on Monday.

When Sanders is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, he will become the first long-time Falcon enshrined.

He will join running back Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald as the only Falcons in Canton. Dickerson played briefly for the Falcons during the 1993 season. McDonald, who was a member of the 1967 squad, played just one season for the Falcons.

“We’re so pleased that Deion has sent his helmet and football. It’s a great way for fans visiting the Hall of Fame to connect to his great career,” said Jason Aikens, the hall’s collections curator in a statement.

Sanders’ memorabilia will be placed in an exhibit that features the 2011 class.

The 2011 induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 6. If the lockout is over, …

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Q&A: Safety William Moore’s growth could be stunted

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

BIRDLAND — Falcons safety William Moore battled through an injury-marred rookie season in 2009 before coming on strong after taking over for Erik Coleman in the second game of last season.

He finished last season tied for the team lead with five interceptions and was fourth on the team with 72 tackles.

Moore, a second round draft pick in 2009, is one of the young Falcons who’s most affected by the NFL lockout. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder often praised Moore’s effort and ability. But he would contend that once Moore attained a better understanding of the pro game, he’d have a chance to blossom into a star.

A lot of that teaching and film study would have been going on during this offseason. Instead of receiving additional coaching from VanGorder, secondary coach Tim Lewis and defensive backs coach Alvin Reynolds, Moore is trying to improve with the …

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Falcons have one of the top triple threats in NFL

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (left) tries to avoid St. Louis Rams cornerback Jerome Murphy after catching a pass for an 8-yard gain during the fourth quarter. White led the league in receptions with 115 in 2010. (Associated Press)

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (left) tries to avoid St. Louis Rams cornerback Jerome Murphy after catching a pass for an 8-yard gain during the fourth quarter. White led the league in receptions with 115 in 2010. (Associated Press)

The Falcons are one of four teams in the NFL with three players ranked in the top 15 at the three main skill positions, according to NFL.com senior writer Pat Kirwan

Here’s a link to Kirwan’s list of the top players by position. Here’s what he has to say about the Falcons trio of quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Roddy White and running back Michael Turner:

Falcons

Running back Michael Turner and receiver Roddy White are both in the top five at their positions, and Matt Ryan is in the top 10 at quarterback.

Michael Turner: A solid workhorse who finished third in the league in rushing and tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns. The Falcons’ passing game creates conflicts for defenses, and Turner will benefit from a high number of run …

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Q&A: Redman says the Falcons strongly support the union

THE UNTOUCHABLES -- John Parker Wilson, Matt Ryan and Chris Redman will wear blue jerseys and will not be hit in the live scrimmage. (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

THE QUARTERBACKS: John Parker Wilson, Matt Ryan and Chris Redman will all on hand for workouts last week. (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

Falcons backup quarterback Chris Redman came into town to play in Matt Ryan’s golf outing and take part in the seven-on-seven drills that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Buford.

Before he took the field on Tuesday, he chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

redman mug

Chris Redman

Q: How has your offseason been going?

A: It’s been great. Obviously, it’s been different. But for the most part, I got a chance to spend a lot of time with my family back home in Kentucky. I try to shoot down here as much as a I can to get with some of the guys. It’s just kind of good see the guys as well.  Everybody is really fired up. When you’re away you kind of get more hungry.  We’ve all been away for a little bit. We are definitely getting hungry for the season.

Q: How did you reconcile the ending to last season?

A: Obviously, when you lost at the end …

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Julio Jones has become a regular at the player workouts

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.   <cq> 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

BIRDLAND – The Falcons practiced again on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Quarterback Chris Redman and tight end Justin Peelle made their first appearances.

There were 24 players there on Tuesday. They have been averaging around 30 players for the workouts that last about and hour.

Wide receiver Julio Jones has been a regular since getting cleared by  a foot specialist in Charlotte.

Here are some more photo’s from Wednesday’s session.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

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Spoon, Jones getting in their Gridiron Grunts

Falcons top draft pick, Julio Jones, worked out with the team today. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons top draft pick, Julio Jones, worked out with the team today. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Sean Weatherspoon and Julio Jones, the Falcons first-round picks in the last two drafts, are staying ahead of the technology curve.

Weatherspoon’s love for twitter.com is well known and Jones is also on the social networking site.

But both are taking part in a new phone application called Gridiron Grunts that was created by former NFL players Jeb Terry and Ryan Nece, former teammates with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The application allows players to communicate directly to fans through their iPhone, iPad or iPod. It also allows fans to interact with each other. (It should be ready for Droid phones soon.)

Terry, a former offensive lineman, played with the Bucs from 2004 to 2007 and with San Francisco in 2008. Nece, a former linebacker, played for the Bucs from 2002 to 2007 and with the Detroit Lions in 2008.

Elwanda Weatherspoon and her son, Sean, the Falcons unsigned first round draft pick. (Brant Sutherlin/AJC)

Sean Weatherspoon with his mother Elwanda Weatherspoon after …

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Blank honored by the American Institute for Stuttering

Falcons owner Arthur Blank shared his story about overcoming stuttering Tuesday in New York. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank shared his story about overcoming stuttering Tuesday in New York. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who has dealt with stuttering, was honored by the American Institute for Stuttering at a gala event Tuesday in New York.

Blank shared his story at the Fifth Annual Freeing Voices Changing Lives benefit. Actress Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Queen Victoria), also an AIS board member, hosted the event.

“The King’s Speech has thrust the plight of stuttering into the spotlight and it has been an enormous boost to stutterers because it demonstrates that anyone can have a stuttering disorder – even a King,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“It has also been a great promotional benefit for AIS because it has drawn attention to the comprehensive programs that we provide for members and their families.”

About American Institute for Stuttering (AIS):

AIS was founded in 1998 by Catherine Montgomery (1951-2010), who was an …

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Babineaux, Chauncey to hold FREE youth football camp

The Falcons' Jonathan Babineaux (left) and his younger brother, Seattle Seahawks' Jordan Babineaux (27), meet after their game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, in Seattle. (Associated Press)

The Falcons' Jonathan Babineaux (left) and his younger brother, Seattle Seahawks' Jordan Babineaux (27), meet after their game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, in Seattle. (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux and defensive end Chauncey Davis, tireless

Atlanta Falcons' Stephen Nicholas, right, Chauncey Davis, second from right, and Curtis Lofton, left, try to tackle New York Jets' Braylon Edwards during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Atlanta Falcons' Stephen Nicholas, right, Chauncey Davis, second from right, and Curtis Lofton, left, try to tackle New York Jets' Braylon Edwards during the third quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

workers with the kids of the community in the offseason, will hold a one-day FREE football clinic at Grady High from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 11.

Also, former Baltimore Raven Daniel Wilcox, a Decatur native, will help out in partnership with urban retailer DTLR.

This is the fifth time that the camp will be held.

While the camp is free, parents are required to register their kids. You can register right here.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter,

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