Archive for July, 2011

NFL in town today, bracing for big labor meeting

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the rest of the league owners will be in town to possibly vote to end the league's lockout tomorrow. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the rest of the league owners will be in town to possibly vote to end the league's lockout tomorrow. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

The NFL is holding a smaller committee meeting today at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The meeting in a precursor to Thursday’s special meeting. There is one item on the agenda for the special league meeting and a press conference is scheduled.

If the players approve a new collective bargaining agreement today in Washington, D.C., the  league’s owners are setting up to vote on ending the lockout. The owners will need 24 of 32 votes to end the lockout.

If all of the votes line up, the league’s worst labor situation since 1987 will be averted. The league locked the players out on March 11, touching off a legal battle that reached the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, one level away from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some of the key topics at the Atlanta meeting will include the league’s …

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Falcons to offer virtual seat viewing system

Falcons battle flags were given away to the first 60,000 Falcons fans entering the Georgia Dome, adding to the "Dome Field" advantage against the Arizona Cardinals. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons battle flags were given away to the first 60,000 Falcons fans entering the Georgia Dome, adding to the "Dome Field" advantage against the Arizona Cardinals. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

When the dust does settle from the NFL Lockout, the Falcons plan to strike by offering hyped-up fans a new ticket-buying experience.

The team has launched a new virtual seat viewing system that provides fans with unique and realistic 3D seating visuals of the Georgia Dome. They are hoping to improve the online ticket buying and season ticket purchasing experience.

 Fans get to see their game day view throughout the Dome, and can purchase season, half season packages and single-game tickets. The system also features an interactive parking map that will guide fans directly from their front door to the parking lot on game day.

Prospective buyers simply follow the link http://vsv.atlantafalcons.com/ and select their desired section for a realistic 3D stadium view. In addition to allow …

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Vick keeps in touch with Blank, Falcons

Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick was in Washington, D.C. to speak about dog-fighting on Tuesday.

He was asked about his relationship with Falcons owner Arthur Blank and some of his former teammates.

Here’s the video.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Video: The Falcons ready to spring into action

Continue reading Video: The Falcons ready to spring into action »

Next stop for Deion Sanders is Canton, Ohio

 Former Atlanta Falcon Deion Sanders talks with the 11 & 12-year-old Truth youth football team before their game during a youth football tournament at West Lake High School Friday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., July 15, 2011. Sanders brought three youth football teams called The Truth. The three teams are 9&10, 11&12, and 13&14 all from the Dallas/Forth Worth area. Sanders will be the first Falcon to enter the NFL Hall of Fame August 8th. Sanders has changed his public image, no longer Primetime, he devotes his time to a youth sports program.  Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

Former Atlanta Falcon Deion Sanders talks with the 11 & 12-year-old Truth youth football team before their game during a youth football tournament at West Lake High School Friday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., July 15, 2011. Sanders brought three youth football teams called The Truth. The three teams are 9&10, 11&12, and 13&14 all from the Dallas/Forth Worth area. Sanders will be the first Falcon to enter the NFL Hall of Fame August 8th. Sanders has changed his public image, no longer Primetime, he devotes his time to a youth sports program. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

The next stop for Deion Sanders is the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

He spent most of the last week in the city where he started his career, making the media rounds, hosting a youth football tournament and celebrating with a Red & Black fundraising party.

Coach Andre Patterson and the Gresham Park Rattlers before facing Deion Sanders' Dallas T.R.U.T.H. team last Friday at West Lake High. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Coach Andre Patterson and the Gresham Park Rattlers before facing Deion Sanders' Dallas T.R.U.T.H. team last Friday at West Lake High. (By D. Orlando …

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PFT to look at worst moments in Falcons’ history

Minneapolis, MN-Atlanta Falcons Chris Chandler, left and Eugene Robinson, right with the NFC Championship trophy. (AJC Staff Photo/Marlene Karas)

Minneapolis, MN-Atlanta Falcons Chris Chandler, left and Eugene Robinson, right with the NFC Championship trophy. (AJC Staff Photo/Marlene Karas)

The good folks over at ProFootballTalk.com will be discussing the “Falcons’ worst moments in history” on PFT Live today.

Plan to focus on some of the lowest moments in franchise history.

It’s going to be pretty hard to top losing your Pro Bowl quarterback to the federal authorities in a dog-fighting investigation. However, Eugene Robinson’s night out on the town in Miami the night before the Super Bowl might be a close second.

Then you have the coach, throwing his hands up in the air and running off for Arkansas.

–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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We’ll learn the viability of ‘The Atlanta Plan’ today

Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts center, arrives Friday's labor talks in New York. Saturday, an Atlanta native, played at old Shamrock High. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts center, arrives Friday's labor talks in New York. Saturday, an Atlanta native, played at old Shamrock High. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

By the end of business today, we will likely know the viability of  “The Atlanta Plan.”

The NFL and NFLPA will have to announce the old “agreement in principle” today.

The NFLPA appears set to re-certify and vote on Wednesday. The NFL then could vote when they have their special league meeting at the Atlanta Airport Gateway Marriott on Thursday.

If the players approve the deal, the league would need 24 of 32 owners to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement and avert its first real work stoppage since 1987. (Locking the players out in the offseason was seen as a favor by some veterans!)

The Associated Press is reporting that  executives from all 32 teams would get briefed here on Thursday and Friday on how the terms would affect league business.

During lengthy negotiations last week, players and …

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NFL-NFLPA issue joint statement; no deal yet

Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts center, arrives Friday's labor talks in New York. Saturday, an Atlanta native, played at old Shamrock High. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts center, arrives Friday's labor talks in New York. Saturday, an Atlanta native, played at old Shamrock High. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The NFL and the NFLPA issued a joint statement on Friday and declared that both sides will continue to work on an labor agreement Saturday and Sunday.

The parties have a meeting with chief magistrate Arthur J. Boylan, the court-appointed mediator, on Tuesday in Minneapolis.  The league will hold a special meeting at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Thursday.

“The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues,” the release said. “Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspects of the negotiations. We will provide additional information as …

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Tyson Clabo takes us inside the NFL labor negotiations

 Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, the team’s player rep along with linebacker Coy Wire,  spent two days earlier this week in New York in the midst of the NFL labor negotiations.

Both sides are under orders not to discuss details of the talks and could be fined. But, Clabo, in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed his trip to the negotiating table.

“I can tell you that when they come out and say that everybody is working really hard, they really are working really hard,” Clabo said. “When I was sitting at home and would hear that everybody is working really hard, I’d say, ‘they can’t be working really too hard because nothing is getting done.’ That is not true. Everyone up there is …

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Sign or Don’t Sign: Tyson Clabo wants to remain a Falcon

Falcons guards Justin Blalock (left) and Tyson Clabo help Ryan to his feet after a hit against Tampa Bay  (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons guards Justin Blalock (left) and Tyson Clabo help Ryan to his feet after a hit against Tampa Bay (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Everybody is having a little fun spending Arthur Blank’s money.

You all want to keep punter and kickoff specialist Michael Koenen, too.

Should the Falcons re-sign right tackle Tyson Clabo?

  • Yes, he’s a Pro Bowler.
  • No, Garrett Reynolds is ready to go.

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This came after everyone voted to sign left guard Justin Blalock, running back Jason Snelling and returner-receiver Eric Weems.  You all voted not to re-sign running back Jerious Norwood.

Today, we have a major issue to consider in starting right tackle Tyson Clabo in “Sign” or “Don’t Sign.” He’s the No. 1 rated tackle in free agency, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

A deal to keep Clabo should in the $35 to $45 million range. Clabo would like to return to the Falcons.

“I’m excited (about free agency),” Clabo said via …

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