UPDATE: Team denies Mike Smith has ‘persistent chest’ discomfort

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons denied a report that coach Mike Smith has had “persistent chest

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the local media on Monday after going to the hospital with chest pains in Charlotte. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressing the local media on Monday after going to the hospital with chest pains in Charlotte. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

 related discomfort” on Thursday.

“He feels fine,” said Reggie Roberts, the team’s vice president of communications.

Following Sunday’s Falcons-Carolina game, Smith, 52, had chest pains and was taken to a hospital before the team’s charter flight left for Atlanta.

Smith had undisclosed tests and arrived back in Atlanta at 3 a.m. He was at the team’s facilities around 3:30 p.m. and held a team meeting at 4 p.m.

“He spent the week preparing his team for the nationally-televised game against Jacksonville,” Roberts said. “Smith had a previously scheduled appointment. It was made after he left the hospital in Charlotte.”

The Falcons (8-5) are set to play the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) at 8:20 p.m. tonight at the Georgia Dome.

On Monday, Smith said he has had to make some lifestyle changes, but doesn’t plan to change his coaching style.

On Thursday, a walk-through practice, Smith completed the team’s tentative schedule for next week. He’s prepared to give the players off until Tuesday. They are set to have Wednesday off and will practice again on Thursday and Friday, have a walk-through on Saturday and leave for New Orleans on Christmas for their Monday game against the Saints.

Smith, like most coaches around the NFL, has been known to spend a few nights at the facilities. He has his own room in the team’s dormitories.

After last season, Smith signed a three-year contract extension in February.

With three games to play, the Falcons are 8-5 and fighting for their third playoff berth in four seasons under Smith. The team is 41-20 under Smith.

Smith originally signed a four-year contract that was worth between $8 million to $10 million. Terms of the contract extension were not disclosed.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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104 comments Add your comment

Gritz

December 15th, 2011
8:49 am

Take care of yourself Coach!

SirReal

December 15th, 2011
9:00 am

Sorry to hear that. Coaching on any level is very stressful, especially the NFL. We talk about coaches and things like that on these blogs but I think some of us forget that these are human beings with families. That trumps any GAME…because this is just a GAME. Health is a real life thing. I genuinely hope Smith will be alright….not for the birds but for himself and his family. He helped raise his brothers and sisters….something I can relate to. Thats character right there. Get well Smitty.

SavannahFalconsFan

December 15th, 2011
9:00 am

That is a hard working coach! Talk about putting team first! He wont even comment on his on health! The Falcons need you around coach, take care of yourself!

dean

December 15th, 2011
9:11 am

This is might be a dumb question but who takes over if Coach has to take some time off?

FalconUGAFan

December 15th, 2011
9:15 am

Take care of yourself and God bless!

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:28 am

Hope he gets it checked out, taken care of and is back to full health soon.

Praying for you Coach

[...] it’s game night tonight against Jacksonville and Mike Smith is the story. Last Sunday night, he was taken off the team’s plane at a Charlotte airport because of chest [...]

Casey

December 15th, 2011
10:03 am

How ’bout an easy victory for Coach Smith!? I could use an easy one myself..

Michael M.

December 15th, 2011
10:05 am

You know its not good to have these problems at the age of 52. They say alot of coronary problems are related to your diet so that may be the problem. They have medicine now you can take that will cut down on the artery clogging fat from the fatty foods we all consume. I seriously hope Coach Smitty gets this straighten out and is okay.
My Dad had to have bypass surgery back about 10 years ago and it took a long time for him to recover from it. He still does well with medicines but due to the fact he is 78 now he has alot of other health issues.
Anytime one has chest pains they seriously need to have it throughly checked… I know from the past experience with my Father. Coach Smitty is still young so he probably can be treated with medicines to clean up any thing in the arterys without having any kind of surgery. He seems to stay pretty active too so that is a plus.
Anyway, back to Football……Falcons win tonight in da house!

Die Hard Falcon

December 15th, 2011
10:07 am

Be well Coach Smith. To some degree, I live & die by the Falcons during the season. If we lose, my day and often my entire week are frustrated, and when we win, I’m elated. I really appreciate all that Coach Smith has brought to our organization and wish him a full & speedy recovery. God Bless

Die Hard Falcon

December 15th, 2011
10:10 am

DLed — Perhaps I’m being hokey, but if there’s a way that you could pass along some of our well-wishes to Coach Smith and let him know that all true Falcon fans thought & prayers are with him, I know I would appreciate it. Thanks if you get an opportunity.

Matty Ice Lover

December 15th, 2011
10:14 am

I Love You Coach Smith. You will be alright and you will rise up from this. I live and breathe the falcons. Matt Ryan and Coach smith is the best qb and coaching duo in the NFL.

Felecia Ward Little

December 15th, 2011
10:15 am

Coach Smith prayers and best wishes for a speedy and full recovery! FALCON FAN FOR LIFE! You have done a fantastic job for our team! Take care of yourself.

PMC

December 15th, 2011
10:18 am

This is really up to the Falcons offense to stop giving all of us heart issues.

Bright Idea

December 15th, 2011
10:23 am

Heart patient here coming from a long line of heart patients. If this were Smith’s heart I doubt he would be back at work with chest pains. I just hope it is not something worse that is not immediately dangerous. Honor his wishes, quit speculating.

alex

December 15th, 2011
10:25 am

Family>>>>>football, it’s just a SILLY game….Get it thoroughly checked out.

Pete

December 15th, 2011
10:27 am

By Feb.1,2012 Smitty will probably undergo multiple bypass surgery.
It’s everywhere in our culture.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 15th, 2011
10:37 am

Die Hard Falcon — I will be sure to let him know. If it gets too hectic on deadline, I’ll remember when I see him on Monday.

Die Hard Falcon

December 15th, 2011
10:48 am

Thanks DLed, I appreciate it.

Gwalk

December 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Get well Brother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

DamntheButcher

December 15th, 2011
11:01 am

It would not make sense for him to continue to coach if he is still having chest pains. That would be like a ticking bomb. I am sure if he was having pains he would have something done about it.

Linda Baker

December 15th, 2011
11:01 am

Coach Smith, please take care of yourself. I’m sending up prayers that any health issues will soon be a thing of the past. We care about you Mike!

Pamela

December 15th, 2011
11:17 am

I hope this man does not have a heart attack..I think he need to just rest and let someone else coach the FAILcons. Seriously I really hope his health is good. He has a very stressful job, but I think he is O.K. :)

C'mon Man

December 15th, 2011
11:21 am

Slow news day so lets drum up panic! As you already know, Smith is very in tune with his health and felt something strange sitting on a plane that was being delayed. Being a smart guy, he decided to get it checked out instead of waiting to see if something was wrong while he was 30k feet in the air. The picture on the main page of him with his hand over his heart is a nice touch. The guy is a ticking time bomb, Heart Attack watch begins! Chest pain can be caused by a lot of things, maybe the dude had a bad hot dog at half time. Point is, nothing to see here move on and do some real reporting.

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2011
11:24 am

“Who takes over if Coach has to take time off?”

Alexander Haig….”I’m in charge here.”

Sam the Sham

December 15th, 2011
11:25 am

Four words for coach…Ronnie Green Heart Center. They are the best you will find and will save your life. Us fans love Coach Smith and want him around for many, many years.

C'mon Man

December 15th, 2011
11:27 am

This just in, Coach spends 10 minutes in bathroom! Colon cancer suspected!

S

December 15th, 2011
11:28 am

His health is so much more important than coaching his team. He really need to sit back for awhile and just let someone else coach this team. If his doctor tells him it’s O.K. to coach the team then he should do it. If his gut and doctor tells him otherwise, he really should not do it. Once he is gone then trust me the Mr. Blank will find someone else quicker than Mat Ryan falling on the ground in any game so the REAL football players won’t jump on him.. ;)

59bulldawg

December 15th, 2011
11:28 am

Not a Falcons fan but Smith is by far the best coach the franchise has ever had. Take care of yourself coach. I want you to be around for a long time!

P B Orr

December 15th, 2011
11:29 am

A lot of things can cause chest discomfort for 50ish men. Two that are very common are gall stones and cholecystitis (infection of the gall bladder), and acid reflux – stomach acid that gurgles into the esophagus because the sphincter that closes it off has become weak.

If Smith had anything abnormal on his EKG he’d probably still be in Charlotte. I’m certain that he was given an oxygen perfusion test among other heart tests. No one would allow him anywhere near a football field if he had any direct symptoms of heart disease.

up north

December 15th, 2011
11:33 am

Easily my favorite Falcons coach, or coach of any time, for that matter. Best wishes for good health to him.

Blake

December 15th, 2011
11:35 am

Why Is this still an issue? The man says He’s fine.His doctors would know If He wasn’t. Lets talk football….we have three games left…..

Buckeye

December 15th, 2011
11:42 am

Go Falcons! Hoping for a fast start and an early bedtime tonight!

yeahsure

December 15th, 2011
11:52 am

Coach isn’t sitting out tonight. We’re getting back to back to back to back winning seasons!!!!!

Van Brocklin

December 15th, 2011
11:53 am

Enter your comments here

the reader

December 15th, 2011
11:56 am

“Smith had a previously made appointment. It was made AFTER the game in Charlotte”…Hmmm… How could that be?

alex

December 15th, 2011
11:58 am

@com’on man, You’re the proverbial polyp…… @p b orr, oxygen perfusion test, what?…flip the burgers, put on the mayo….

Another Heart Patient

December 15th, 2011
11:58 am

I agree with Heart Patient. If Coach Smith were having any kind of serious heart problems, he would not be back coaching. Doctors do not fool around with chest pain. If it had been a heart attack, he would still be in the hospital. Everybody needs to ease off the rumors.

WhoDat

December 15th, 2011
11:59 am

What’s the backup plan if he drops?

ls1z28chris

December 15th, 2011
12:01 pm

The real heart attack will come after another season of failing to win a playoff game. At least Smith will then have some fans in the hospital to keep him company.

Talented 10th

December 15th, 2011
12:04 pm

@WHO DAT….LMAO!

A tad bit classless, but funny just the same. Hey, if the Falcons can dish it (remember White’s tweets about Katrina, anyone?), then they better be able to take it…

12/26/11 – Defeat REPEAT..WHO DAT, Baby!

B-man

December 15th, 2011
12:05 pm

Hey team, how about throwing a royal beat down on Jacksonville for our Ball Coach so he doesn’t have to sweat a tight game tonight. Let’s see some inspired play tonight.

Loki

December 15th, 2011
12:07 pm

@WhoDat: way to keep it classy.

Saints R.E.A.M.

December 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

If Coach has to take some time off it would be the Falcon Fans worst nightmare!! Mike Mularkey will probably head the ship going forward if that is the case. He has been a head coach before in the NFL and I think they would hand the reins over to him on an interim basis. <<>>

alex

December 15th, 2011
12:11 pm

Gotta give whodat a break, ‘orleans is a toilet:literally and figuratively.

Mo

December 15th, 2011
12:12 pm

Look the way these guys play sometimes will give anybody chest pains. Hopefully the players will get their heads out of their collective asses and play for this coach now. Curtis Lofton talkin about how he was not focused during Panthers game… BITCH! U getting paid to to be focused. Sorry DOL it needed to be said.

Saints R.E.A.M.

December 15th, 2011
12:13 pm

T. Dimitroff – “Since Bob Petrino wouldn’t take my calls……I’d like to introduce our new head coach, Mike Mularkey.” (Falcon’s Fan spits coffee).

Political Man

December 15th, 2011
12:17 pm

This is not 1911. In 2011 we know how to lead healthy lives: food, exercise, rest, etc. Yet we are a nation that leads the world in obesity. Coach Smith looks unhealthy. I think there is some not very smart living going on here.

Saints R.E.A.M.

December 15th, 2011
12:17 pm

Hmmm….makes me wonder. Who would be an acceptable replacement for Coach Smitty??? Gruden? Cowher? or maybe Romeo Crennel…..the possibilities are endless.

Tom E. Gunn

December 15th, 2011
12:20 pm

He needs to retire. It’s not like he’ll have anything to do next month.