Video: Recently released Falcon Ovie Mughelli


WSB TV’s Zach Klein gave this video to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a torn MCL and had surgery last season. He was released by the Falcons on Tuesday.  (Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a torn MCL and had surgery last season. He was released by the Falcons on Tuesday. (Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

Just four days after being cleared to return to work from knee surgery, the Falcons released former Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli on Tuesday.

“I’m still kind of digesting it,” Mughelli said by phone on Tuesday. “It’s something that I knew was a possibility. It didn’t come too much as a surprise. It’s something that happens in every player’s career. I know that I’m still one of the best fullbacks out there. Right now, I just have to be patient and work with my agent to see what’s the next step that we’re going to take. ”

 The Falcons recently selected fullback Bradie Ewing in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

Mughelli had a salary cap number of $3.7 million for 2012. The team will receive relief.

Mughelli was originally signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 2, 2007. He was signed to a six-year, $18 million contact with a $5 million signing bonus. It was the largest contact given to a fullback in NFL history at the time.

He appeared in 69 games in his five seasons with the Falcons, including 38 starts.

Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli  at the Pro Bowl after the Falcons won the NFC South in 2010.

Michael Turner and Ovie Mughelli at the Pro Bowl after the Falcons won the NFC South in 2010.

In 2011, Mughelli saw action in seven games and hauled in four receptions for 25 yards with two touchdowns before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 23.

He was viewed as expendable in the new offense under coordinator Dirk Koetter, which will mostly utilize three receivers.  A fullback will be utilized about 20 percent of the time.

Mughelli was not ready to rule out a return to the Falcons with a re-structured contract.

“It’s a possibility,” Mughelli said. “[Falcons general manager Thomas] Dimitroff and my agent are talking.”

Mughelli was recently cleared to return to work from the knee injury.

“Right now, I’m just about to head to work out,” Mughelli said. “I have to stay in top shape, top form. I was cleared to workout with the team on Friday. Practiced with the team on Monday and got cut today. I’m able to run, jump and catch. I can definitely help some team win whether if it’s the Falcons or somewhere else.”

A crushing lead-blocker, Mughelli paved the way for three 1,300-yard-plus seasons

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli (34) celebrates with teammate Sam Baker (72) after his second quarter touchdown against Tampa Bay. AP

Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli (34) celebrates with teammate Sam Baker (72) after his second quarter touchdown against Tampa Bay. AP

for running back Michael Turner, including a 1,699-yard season in 2008.

“It was very special,” Mughelli said of his time with the Falcons. “I said that my time in Baltimore was very special when I was a youngster. But my time here in Atlanta was twice as special.

“I got the chance to play with a great like Tony Gonzalez. Get coached under Mike Smith and have some special relationships in my running back [meeting] room with Michael Turner, Jason Snelling and even Jacquizz [Rodgers]. It’s been a pleasure working with those guys and winning games. . . I definitely have some great memories from my time with the Falcons. I’m looking forward to making some new ones.”

The Falcons salary cap issues have been severe this offseason as they focused on re-signing their own players. They struck deals with defensive end John Abraham, safety Thomas DeCoud, wide receiver Harry Douglas, defensive end Kroy Biermann, center Todd McClure and quarterback Chris Redman. They also signed linebacker Lofa Tatupu and guard Vince Manuwai as free agents.

The team also placed the franchise tag on cornerback Brent Grimes, who’s set to make $10.281 million after signing his tender. They also traded a seventh round pick for cornerback Asante Samuel.

Because of their salary cap restraints, the Falcons were not able to re-sign middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, who signed a modest five-year, $27.5 million deal with the New

Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons starting Fullback and Eco-Athlete, is welcomed by Green activist, Former Vice President Al Gore during his recent environmental seminar in Atlanta to discuss "Solutions to the Climate Crisis".  Phot by Chris Savas.

Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons starting Fullback and Eco-Athlete, is welcomed by Green activist, Former Vice President Al Gore during his recent environmental seminar in Atlanta to discuss "Solutions to the Climate Crisis". Photo by Chris Savas.

Orleans Saints. He was a four-year starter and the team’s leading tackler in each of the past three seasons.

The issue of the tight salary cap likely led the Falcons to select Ewing, who’s a good blocker and pass catcher. He was widely considered the best fullback in the draft.

Dimitroff did not want to address Mughelli’s status or the team’s financial situation after the conclusion of the draft.

“I don’t want to comment on financial situations and our cap situation publicly,” Dimitroff said. “That’s what we discuss back in our offices.”

To make all of their offseason moves, the Falcons have been scrambling. They’ve restructured the contracts of  cornerback Dunta Robinson and left guard Justin Blalock in order to free up $2.99 million.

The Falcons could use the space provided by the release of Mughelli to fit in the rookie class and perhaps add a veteran salary-cap casualty.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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146 comments Add your comment

Mike Jay

May 8th, 2012
10:06 am

Great guy and a helluva good fullback. Ovie was a throwback to when you had to have a good blocking FB. I wish him nothing but good luck.

Willy

May 8th, 2012
10:06 am

Some other team will pick him up on the cheap.

Andy

May 8th, 2012
10:11 am

Good business decision and was obviously coming after drafting a FB. Hate to see him go though.

JSS

May 8th, 2012
10:11 am

At least he gets a chance to get out there and get a deal that is not scraping the side of the bowl… Best of luck to you Ovie!

Formul8or

May 8th, 2012
10:13 am

You call Lofton’s deal modest but Ray Edwards money a lot?

Mike Jay

May 8th, 2012
10:15 am

Based on the performance of the two last seasons, I agree with Dled. Ray Edwards was overpaid and Lofton was just about right for a MLB who has lead his team in tackles for 4 years. Doesn’t mean i would pay Lofton that much.

ATLJBO

May 8th, 2012
10:17 am

So D-Led… What is our cap situation (the numbers) looking like now ?

PMC

May 8th, 2012
10:19 am

Ovie is going to be successful in whatever he does from here on out. I’m still mad that his Falcons career would be ended on such a sloppy terrible tackle from Delmas.

Good Luck Ovie, we will miss you as a Falcons player, but I hope to see you around Atlanta in the future!

CaliDirtyBird

May 8th, 2012
10:21 am

Since he’s coming off injury and, although still very good on the downside of his career, I’d say there is at least the possibility that we resign he later to a much smaller deal.

[...] Atlanta Falcons have announced they have released fullback Ovie Mughelli. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew the drafting of Bradie Ewing in the fifth round [...]

Jesse

May 8th, 2012
10:24 am

That means this is also Turner’s last year as well…..

JSS

May 8th, 2012
10:32 am

He was as good in the entire community as any person in the Falcons organization! His hard work will be missed by many charities and NGOs across the region…

E-Roll

May 8th, 2012
10:35 am

Ovie is a great guy and I love his community involvement but with $3,000,000 owed to him for the upcoming season, his position (fullback) and coming off a BAD knee injury you saw this coming. Good luck in the future Ovie I know you will be signed to a team somewhere.

chc4

May 8th, 2012
10:36 am

Can’t argue with this move. But still can’t figure out why we re-signed Decoud. All he does is get torched in coverage and miss tackles.

Formul8or

May 8th, 2012
10:47 am

Contrary to popular belief, Turner had more yards after Ovie went down with an injury than before

larry w.

May 8th, 2012
10:48 am

@ chc4

I don’t pretend to know what goes into the decision making at FB, but my guess would be that DeCoud was kept because there was no legitimate shot at getting a starting caliber safety in the later rounds of the draft. There is still the possiblity that a veteran safey will free up from another team.

DeCoud is still young, and therefore can still be taught to be a good safety in Nolan’s defense. He has the athletic ability, his problems seem to be more mental than physical.

falconfanriseup

May 8th, 2012
10:52 am

All the best to you Ovie and where ever you go. You will be missed here in Atlanta

jj

May 8th, 2012
11:00 am

I agree with you about Decoud that he should not have been resigned,especially for the mony he got.Safety is our weak spot on this Team and Decoud is not the answer.We need help back there BIG TIME.Oh yeah,that other guy TD drafted out of Montana last year needs to go.He don’t add nothing to this Team,even on special team.I don’t.even want to talk about playing safety.TD,we need safety help if this TEAM is going to be great!

g

May 8th, 2012
11:12 am

Jj don’t worry the new kid falcoun will replace him by week 5

joe

May 8th, 2012
11:19 am

They had to let Ovie go, but he was one of my favorite Falcons

Falconfiend

May 8th, 2012
11:27 am

Ewing and Snelling are the new fullbacks. Snell better step up this year. Ovie may still be on this team. He has to prove he can over come that knee injury. It’s to much money to pay Ovie, if he is not contributing.

Birdman of Falcatraz

May 8th, 2012
11:28 am

DLed, Any chance this is to clear room for an unnamed Defensive End currently squabbling with his super bowl winning team over a contract extension and who would immediately turn a less than average dline into a pass sacking menace? We surely can’t again be going into yet another season with no real pass rush outside the aging Abe? We did not draft a potential starter, projects yes, but no starters at DE out of the last several drafts.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 8th, 2012
11:46 am

Birdman — This looks like a move to stay above board and fit the rookies in and have a few nickels left over.
ATLJBO — Ovie is still on the books, according to union docs. So the numbers are not current at this time.

Sid

May 8th, 2012
11:52 am

Ovie, thanks for all your contributions to the Falcons, you gave 110% every play.

The Real Falcon

May 8th, 2012
12:01 pm

So Ewing is the best FB in the draft but our new offense doesn’t use FBs? The reason he was cut now after being cleared to play is to avoid an injury settlement. Again Ewing did not lift at the combine so no one knows what kind of player pro he is. So we go into the season without a FB that has starting NFL experience. And don’t say Shelling. I said FB
Thanks Ovie for the player and person you are.

Delbert D.

May 8th, 2012
12:17 pm

Good article. The other blog on Ovie Mughelli today ticked me off. “Crushing lead blocker” vs. “reminder of the Petrino blah-blah”.

Astro Joe

May 8th, 2012
12:25 pm

Good luck to Ovie. He seemed like a great guy who stayed focus on doing good things in the local community. This city could use more of that from their pro athletes. I hope that he stays for another year at a more cap friendly number.

Supes

May 8th, 2012
12:26 pm

Ovie was a daym good Falcon. Team first, class act on and off the field. Good all around human being. He’ll be missed! Best of luck to Ovie where ever he may end up playing this year.

Northern Bird

May 8th, 2012
12:27 pm

Nothing but positive memories of Ovie. I was at a game in Philly with my Falcons gear on and Ovie threw me his game gloves on his way to the tunnel after the game. Much respect to the way Ovie carries himself and the way he played with the Falcons. Good Luck to you O. Mughelli !!

Smitty

May 8th, 2012
12:29 pm

DLed. Will Ovie and Xanders be incluced in the next round of unemployment numbers?

Hey Now

May 8th, 2012
12:32 pm

Great player. One of my faves. Sad to see him go, but it’s a business. And you have to make moves that you think will help your franchise. I said think, because it seems they think the rook is gonna be a solid FB.

how2fish

May 8th, 2012
12:34 pm

Best of luck Olive you are a great FB and man..best wishes!

jay

May 8th, 2012
12:40 pm

Great Falcon and was worth every penny. Too bad about the injury though. GL Ovie. Now can someone call Baker into the office?

Jimmy Crack

May 8th, 2012
12:45 pm

Good luck, Ovie! If you can work out the financing we would love to have you and your effort back on the Branch.

Whadda Ya Know?

May 8th, 2012
12:56 pm

I hope Ovie stays with the team. If a FB is only going to be used 20% of the time why did we draft Ewing? Ovie is heads and shoulders above Cox and Ewing–and can catch just a well outta the backfield. I’m sure his cap numbers made him expendable. Hope he resigns with the team.

Sid

May 8th, 2012
1:07 pm

PMC May 8th, 2012 10:19 am
I’m still mad that his Falcons career would be ended on such a sloppy terrible tackle from Delmas.
***************************************************
A sloppy terrible tackle my ass…………….he went for the knee, he drove into it in an intentional attempt to maim.

Sid

May 8th, 2012
1:08 pm

Here is the vid, you just don’t need more proof than this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCBN5Fr-Ums

ghostwriter

May 8th, 2012
1:09 pm

This move makes sense for Atlanta. If our new scheme doesn’t utilize a FB much (20% of plays), there’s no need to tie up almost $4 million in the position. Bradie Ewing (our new one) was the best FB in the draft and will be our guy for the next decade. He can run, block, and catch. We’re set at the position.

Still, though, I hate to see Ovie go. Great player and a great person… take care, Ovie!

Brian Hunt

May 8th, 2012
1:11 pm

Hate to see him go, but I totally see the logic of the move. He won’t play special teams the way that Ewing does and a team that only uses the FB 20% of the time needs that player to be a big part of special teams. It would be nice to see him return at a lower figure, but I’m not sure that it makes sense to stock multiples at the position.

Sid

May 8th, 2012
1:15 pm

Formul8or May 8th, 2012 10:47 am
Contrary to popular belief, Turner had more yards after Ovie went down with an injury than before
***************************************************
Ya got any stats to back that up?

Sid

May 8th, 2012
1:18 pm

Just don’t go anywhere in the NFC South Ovie…………….!!!

WilmaFlinstone

May 8th, 2012
1:32 pm

Its a shame that Ovie had to get cut. Surely there must have been other areas that could have been cut instead of perhaps the Falcons #1 locker room guy and team player. Ovie was a joy to be a Falcon. He gave the organization everything he had both on and off the court. Ovie represented the Falcons well and was probably the highest character guy on the team. Ovie will be missed by everyone in the broadcast booth to every fan in Falcon nation. This is only the second Falcon cut that really stung me personally!

FalconJim

May 8th, 2012
2:24 pm

Helluva good Fullback…..hate to see him go…..mainly because Turner was better with him in the game.

We’ll see how it all works out in about three months.

Good luck, Ovie…..we wish you the best (except when you play us, lol)!!!

Birdman of Falcatraz

May 8th, 2012
2:36 pm

Maybe a lack of character guys in the locker room is the new approach since the other way didn’t net a playoff win (Lofton, Ovie…)

HGN

May 8th, 2012
2:39 pm

Thanks for everything Ovie….And the Best of Luck in the future. You are a Class Act.

Boss J

May 8th, 2012
2:51 pm

Good luck Ovie you are one classy guy and on great fullback! Sorry it came to this type of end in Atlanta but football is a business and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.

Bravesfansince1961

May 8th, 2012
2:51 pm

Ovie; you will be missed. Thank you for all you done for Atlanta and the Falcons.

dandy don

May 8th, 2012
2:57 pm

Ovie for President!

coleski

May 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

Good luck and God bless Ovie.