Q&A: Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton bids farewell

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) fumbles the ball as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) moves in with Giants offensive tackle David Diehl (66) defending in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J.  The Giants recovered the ball on the play. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) fumbles the ball as Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) moves in with Giants offensive tackle David Diehl (66) defending in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants recovered the ball on the play. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton was still putting his arms around the fact that he’s crossed rivalry lines when we chatted on Monday.

He’s following in the footsteps of Bobby Hebert, Morten Andersen, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward and Joe Horn as players who have played for both teams.

Here’s the Q&A:

Q: Are you pretty glad this process is over?

A: Oh yeah, I’m definitely excited to be done with the process and know where I’m going to be living and what team I’m going to be playing for. I’m happy.

Q: How did the meeting and the dinner go with the Saints?

A: The Saints called my agent and they were real excited that I was a free agent. They had me as the No. 1 linebacker in free agency. They had crossed me off their list because they thought there was no way the Falcons were going to let me go. But it turns out that they did and they had a chance. When I got down there coach (Sean) Payton, (defensive coordinator) Steve Spagnuolo, (assistant coach) Joe Vitt and (general manager) Mickey Loomis, all of those guys, kind of wrapped their arms around me and didn’t want to let me go. They were just happy that I was down there. We had great visits; talking about the defense, the team and the direction it was going. I was excited to be a part of it.

Q: Where did you all go out to eat?

 

Curtis Lofton amassed 577 tackles in four seasons with the Falcons. (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

Curtis Lofton amassed 577 tackles in four seasons with the Falcons. (Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com)

A: We went out to Emeril’s.

Q: Was it pretty good?

A: Yes, I had some crawfish. I never had crawfish before so I got some of those. It was just good. I had pre-draft visit there, but we never really spent time with the coaches and all of that. Then I got drafted to the Falcons, so you kind of grow up hating the Saints. It was a very important visit for me to take just to get a feel for the coaches and the players and see how they are.

Q: Any bad after taste in your mouth because the Falcons showed you the business side of football?

A: I was one of those people (who thought I’d finish my career with the Falcons.) But there is no bad taste in my mouth. . . it is a business. The teams are going to do what’s best for them. I had to do what is best for me. A team is going to put a value on a guy and other teams put more value on a guy. That was the situation. The guy has to go to the team that wants him more. The Saints wanted me more, so that’s where I went.

Q: Have you thought about putting on the Saints uniform yet?

A: I have and I’m excited. It’s going to be a little different for me, but I think I’ll fit right in. Gold was one of my colors in high school. We used to wear the black uniforms and Atlanta stopped doing that. I always wanted to wear the black uniforms so I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to get down there.

Here back in 2010, Curtis Lofton was being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who was a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. Lofton was set to visit the hospital and play with kids the following day. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Here back in 2010, Curtis Lofton was being interviewed by Britton Lynn, a University of Alabama student who was a finalist to become the Falcons Taco Maco Insider. Lofton was set to visit the hospital and play with kids the following day. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Q: Where are you going to play?

A: I talked to (Jonathan) Vilma and I talked to Coach Spagnuolo yesterday and they said they are going to get their best players on the field. They really don’t have everything all worked out. When I talked to Vilma he said “that if you feel comfortable and you’re the better [middle linebacker], then you’ll play the [middle] and I’ll play the [weakside] or vice versa or whatever.” I just want to win. Whatever we have to do to win, that’s what I want to do.

Q: With the Saints being in trouble with the league was that a factor in your decision?

A: Not at all. I wasn’t there when the bounty stuff went down. I have no issue with that. My main thing was, I went down there and they have a winning mentality. They’ve won a lot of games over the years. I wanted to go play for a team that has a chance to win the Super Bowl and I think that’s them. They are kind of taking on the mentality that it’s “us verses them.” That’s how I feel and can’t wait to be a part of it.

Q: Do you have a better chance to win a Super Bowl with the Saints?

A: Yes. I look at it like this. When you go to a team, it would be dumb not to think that you don’t have a better chance to win a Super Bowl with that team. I feel like Atlanta and the Saints have been evenly matched. But I really feel like there is more talent with the Saints. I will say that.

Q: Did you pick a number yet?

A: Yes, I think I will be wearing No. 50.

Q: Anything in closing?

A: Yes, I would like to thank the fans, Mr. Blank and the organization for taking a chance on a guy like me. The best of luck to them. Coach (Glenn) Pires really helped me grow on the field. Coach (Mike) Smith helped me grow on the field and off the field. I’m just thankful for them and the guys that I played with over the last four years.

Q: The fans have been on your case?

A: Yeah, I did an interview with someone from New Orleans and they said what do you look forward to? I said I look forward to playing on a team that has a chance to win a Super Bowl and that has truly great fans. I guess all of the Atlanta fans took it as me taking a dig at them. It’s been crazy. You can see all of the crap on my twitter timeline. But, hey, that’s part of the game I guess.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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168 comments Add your comment

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March 26th, 2012
5:30 pm

wow, this whole situation is too &%*#ed up for words.

Sec128 Season Ticket Holder

March 26th, 2012
5:34 pm

No One likes a TRAITOR….

MaxxFalcon

March 26th, 2012
5:36 pm

Akeem will be just as good as Lofton as a 2 down LB. Also, this will give Spoon the chance to be the unquestioned leader of the LBs. If Tatupu is healthy and back to form, then we definitely upgraded at LB, especially on 3rd down. I really don’t want a guy on my team who even entertains the idea of playing for the dirty scumbag Aints anyways. Don’t let the doorknob hitcha where the good lord splitcha Benedict Lofton

Mr. SaintsFan Jr.

March 26th, 2012
5:38 pm

Welcome Mr. Lofton, Amazes me in the spite of the fact that we will lose our head coach for a year, our linebackers coach for 6 gms, our gm for 8 gms, yet we still have guys wanting to come and play for us. I’m not sure if any other team could accomplish that, just goes to show you what respect a winning team has.

P.S. Thanks Mr. Blank for handing us Mr. Lofton in a gift box.

steven A. smith

March 26th, 2012
5:38 pm

Best defensive player is now gone. We should have allowed Decoud and Grimes to walk. Michael Turner can walk also…

Ha, ha ha, ha ha ha

March 26th, 2012
5:39 pm

All the best,
Who Dat Nation and SB Champs

steven A. smith

March 26th, 2012
5:39 pm

Better linebackers are available in the Draft this year..

Ha, ha ha, ha ha ha

March 26th, 2012
5:40 pm

Sincerely,
Who Dat Nation and SB Champs

steven A. smith

March 26th, 2012
5:42 pm

Mr. SaintsFan Jr.
March 26th, 2012
5:38 pm

New Orleans is SIN CITY SOUTH, You Boys Got What you deserved. Could not have happened to a nicer bunch of people!!!

Rise Up!

March 26th, 2012
5:46 pm

Sour grapes …walking into a wonderful situation!

aint’s … hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah … got what they deserve … cheat to win

Thrasher Fan

March 26th, 2012
5:46 pm

F you, Lofton. Prepare to hear the biggest “BOOOOO” of your life next time you play in the Dome.

This whole situation shows he was after the money, not Winning. With what has happened to the Saints lately you’d have to be a moron to go there just to try and “win”.

TrishTude

March 26th, 2012
5:48 pm

Welcome home, Mr. Lofton!!!!!! Who Dat, baby?

dig

March 26th, 2012
5:54 pm

why in gods name is the AJC falcons beat writer interviewing a SAINTS! player… I don’t care if he just left our team, led us in tackles for blah blah blah…

make more contacts that our currently on our roster, interview them, ignore the Aints

Sun Tzu 7

March 26th, 2012
5:55 pm

Thanks for the memories Curtis but know I will be booing the ish out of you….

Best of luck to you except the games when you play us… I hope you have your worst games of the season then.

Scott

March 26th, 2012
6:01 pm

In Atlanta, we don’t like SAINTS and never will.
See you in Atlanta Lofton, better wear ear plugs.

GO FALCONS !

Larry

March 26th, 2012
6:05 pm

The Saints paid heavily for great guy but an average NFL LB The net-net is a win for the Falcons…we’ll get someone faster, cheaper and better while the Saints get slower on defense and tie up more money.

One word of advice, Curtis…when Peyton or his trainers offer you white caplets, it is likely hydrocodone, not tylenol, and for this you’d better have a prescription.

Row 3

March 26th, 2012
6:09 pm

DLed, the question I wanted asked. Was there an offer from the Falcons? Was it something you considered?

47 year Falcon Fanatic

March 26th, 2012
6:10 pm

Lofton is very good leader and tackler but he cannot cover receivers. He is too slow. I have watched him over the years. There is no such thing as a 2 down linebacker. This is a passing league where every down can be a pass.

take bad with good

March 26th, 2012
6:10 pm

falconfans just think about those third and 20 catches over Lofton down the middle.

Loyd Roser

March 26th, 2012
6:12 pm

GOOD RIDDENCE

DarthMeow504

March 26th, 2012
6:14 pm

Lofton is no more a traitor than Carl Nicks or Tracy Porter who left our Saints for a better deal where they could get it. It’s football, it happens every off season to every team. It sucks when you lose a good player, and you never want to see one of your best go to a heated in-division rival, but that happens as well. It’s happened to us, it’s happened to you, it’s happened to every team. That’s just football. Sometimes it goes your way sometimes it doesn’t, and you roll with the punches and move on the best way you can.

Looking forward to our games next year and to come, and to my visits to your fine city as well as the chance to welcome you as visitors to ours.

JSS

March 26th, 2012
6:15 pm

Good luck Lofton, you’ll get to see the difference between the guy who coached Lawrence Taylor (Parcells) and the guys who rode Ray Lewis’s coattail (Smith)! That is beauty of the N-F-L, it is all b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s!!!

steven A. smith

March 26th, 2012
6:17 pm

Please Release/cut/get rid of/ Michael Turner ASAP!!!!

Ranmdy

March 26th, 2012
6:18 pm

Why do I feel like the Falcons are losing ground?

Who me?

March 26th, 2012
6:20 pm

Curtis, when the NFL hands down the penalties for bounty-gate, your new team’s defense is going to get eviscerated brother! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but sometimes it ain’t all about the Benjamins chief. Enjoy getting your clock cleaned this coming year, you’re going to earn every stinkin’ penny.

rivercard

March 26th, 2012
6:23 pm

Last I checked making the tackle ends the play in the NFL. So for Falcons fans to pretend that losing the guy who led your team in tackles for the last three years is a good move is delusional.

Do you think it was an accident he was the leading tackler? Were the other players just standing around saying let Lofton get him. So we should hang our hopes on a young player who couldn’t crack the lineup and a guy who didn’t play last year? Only in Falcon land does this add up.

The defense was average before. It has the potential to be worse now. If there are no other additions then are only hope is that Nolan will put the players in a better position to perform(i.e. less soft zone ). I do think that is possible and expect to see improved play from Dunta.

Who me?

March 26th, 2012
6:23 pm

BTW, VERY stupid of the geniuses in Flowery Branch to let that man just walk away – VERY stupid. Clock is ticking on this management team boys, one would think TD and RM have to be on short ropes with AB by now.

BirdFanscout

March 26th, 2012
6:23 pm

Believe it or not, I am excited about next year. We have two new coordinators who know what they are doing. Both sides of the ball will be more aggressive and I know some of you don’t believe it. We did n’t need a big splash or spend big money. We already have talent on this team. The teams that spends alot usually have high draft picks.

You can call me on it at the end of the season, but I predict 30+ point a game with the new game plan and a top 5 defense. With the talent on offense there is no way we can not be explosive unless he calls the Mularkey conservatieve plays. Nolan knows defense, just look at every team he has been associated with.

The Falcons will put a beat down on everyone on the schedule. Unfortunately Saints fans will use the bounty as an excuse.

10 of 12

March 26th, 2012
6:30 pm

Really? Whats our excuse been lately? Oops my bad—10 of 12 soon to be 12 of 14. FALCONS = Fans Always Left Counting On Next Season.

UGABugKiller

March 26th, 2012
6:31 pm

Yeah, what I won’t miss:

Watching what’s left of Lofton’s burnt corpse when he tries to play coverage.

Also, I like how he pretends to not understand why Atlanta fans would take exception to what he said. We may not be as “awesome and great” like Saints fans, but we also know what he was really saying by what he did and didn’t say.

Akeem Dent will be a good, full-time LB for the Falcons, something Lofton never was, as again, evidenced by his poor performance in passing situations.

technut

March 26th, 2012
6:32 pm

He was part of a great top 5 run D for years here. God bless him. I trust management. Remember folks, very little cap room this year and we need O-line help. MR2 can’t get maimed this year like last.

Sid

March 26th, 2012
6:34 pm

The more I think about it the more I believe that Sean Payton is done in New Orleans. Good Luck Lofton.

Marco

March 26th, 2012
6:35 pm

At first I was upset that Curtis would join the aints but after giving it some thought I was ok with it. Just like the 5-O Lofton is slow to respond and is about as incompetent as linebackers get when it comes to pass coverage. Thinking about all those 3rd and longs completed down the middle also.helps

rivercard

March 26th, 2012
6:37 pm

So if he was so bad on passing downs( which I never saw one single person say prior to Falcons smear campaign) why wasn’t the great Akeem Dent or someone else brought in on those downs?

falcons holic

March 26th, 2012
6:37 pm

curtis lofton will be a bust watch and see he cant cover no body the falcons is going to eat him alive next year when we play the aints they know his weaknest pass coverage he aint going to know that much about the falcons because they upgrade at the coaching staff lofton suck weatherspoon way better lofton is playing for money because why would u go to a team that lost their coach 4 a year some average football players qb situation dont know what brees is thinking about

Sid

March 26th, 2012
6:38 pm

JSS

March 26th, 2012
6:15 pm
Good luck Lofton, you’ll get to see the difference between the guy who coached Lawrence Taylor (Parcells) and the guys who rode Ray Lewis’s coattail (Smith)! That is beauty of the N-F-L, it is all b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s!!!
********************************************
Lol, you are just a crotchity old fart.

BC

March 26th, 2012
6:41 pm

I hate to lose Mr. Lofton. It is a numbers game. Mr. Dimi, keep some salaries, that I question, and to this point has done nothing in FA. I guess there is a off season plan to improve? Right? I mean to say, is there a plan? Oh well, I am sure Julio can play wide out and o-tackle, at the same time! Corner-back and special teams, should be a breeze.
Heck, we probably did not need, all of those draft picks anyway. Right? I know there is a plan, right????????????????

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 26th, 2012
6:45 pm

Row 3 – There was a an offer. It was unacceptable. He wanted an starter offer. Not one for a two-down backer.

J.J.M.

March 26th, 2012
6:51 pm

“But I really feel like there is more talent with the Saints” and I think the saints have a better bounty system

Tony

March 26th, 2012
6:52 pm

The only thing that matters to me is that Nolan didn’t want this guy. If he did, Lofton would still be a Falcon!

j

March 26th, 2012
6:54 pm

look falco fans lofton was a good lb at best its not like he was this great player for us the kid could not play the pass well the only thing he could do was stop the run for postive yards mine you so f him id rather have dent and tatupu any way f you lofton

Row 3

March 26th, 2012
7:04 pm

Falcon got a seventh round comp pick for losing Dahl, and the Punter.

Adam Tetrick

March 26th, 2012
7:18 pm

Poor baby Dirty Birds crying over losing their best play making LB! Saints been laying the wood to the Falcons for the past few years. The only reason they weren’t swept in 2010 was because of a poorly missed field goal. We were actually the first team to beat you in your DOME that year! Then we OWNED you in 2011 before you got spanked in the playoffs. Hey, I’d be crying too if I had to endure being a dirty bird fan!

N.O. Saints

March 26th, 2012
7:23 pm

It is sad how all the falcons fans are saying that curtis lofton sucks just because he left the falcons and joined the saints. He had 170 tackles last season!!!!! You fans are mad you lost your best tackler to your arch rival.

Disgusted

March 26th, 2012
7:30 pm

Its a waste of emotion to take this personal, the players go where the cash is and the FO for whatever reason choose to let Lofton walk to the hated rivals.

That Mike Nolan did not want this guy and plans on replacing him with an injury rehab in Tatupu, well, that is questionable.

The hot seat is on both coordinators, after all, the way Dimitroff talks, the coordinators are the Falcons fans big prizes for this off season.

Ya—right. .500 all the way.

crabapplejoe

March 26th, 2012
7:32 pm

We won’t miss this two down linebacker who made tackles seven yards downfield…….not a playmaker….average at best…..way overrated by Falcon fans for years.

10 of 12

March 26th, 2012
7:39 pm

@ Sid – Thats what you get for thinking . @ Crapappleschmo- He had to do that as a result of your porous D line.

Loyal Falcon

March 26th, 2012
7:42 pm

Lofton just became Keith Brooking #2. We will be just fine.

10 of 12

March 26th, 2012
7:43 pm

It’s also very satisfying watching jealousy rear it’s ugly beak !

10 of 12

March 26th, 2012
7:44 pm

You mean the way Brooking went to a team that actually had a chance ? I concur !