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Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff received
08-07-2019, 06:46 AM,
Post: #1
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff received
FLOWERY BRANCH , Ga. (AP) —  a text from Matt Ryan during the NFL draft.The Falcons’ quarterback obviously approved of the team’s first-round selections of two offensive linemen.Dimitroff said the message from Ryan was brief: “Thanks. Just thanks and wow.”For Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn, the top priority of the offseason was to build a better line after Ryan was sacked 42 times last season, the second-highest total of his career. He was hit 113 times, the third-most in the league.Dimitroff’s first pick was guard Chris Lindstrom of Boston College. He then traded away the Falcons’ second- and third-round picks to add tackle Kaleb McGary of Washington late in the first round.An improved line also would be key to the team’s hopes of boosting the running game, which sagged last season.“Make no mistake about it, we knew what we needed to do in this offseason and that was to continue to fortify Matt and the offensive line,” Dimitroff saidWHO THEY GOTLindstrom and McGary could form a new starting tandem on the right side of the Falcons’ line. Clearly, they are the key to how this draft will be remembered.“It may not have been shiny but I don’t think grit is real shiny,” Quinn said taking two offensive linemen in the first round. “I’m real thrilled they’ll be part of this group for a long time.”Dimitroff went to work on addressing other needs on Saturday’s final day of the draft. Cornerbacks Kendall Sheffield of Ohio State and Jordan Miller of Washington, defensive end John Cominsky of Charleston and running back Qadree Ollison of Pittsburgh each were picked to bolster areas of pressing concern.The team’s last pick, running back Marcus Green of Louisiana-Monroe, may make an immediate contribution as a return specialist. The versatile Green (5-8, 190) was primarily a wide receiver in college Ryan Finley Jersey , but the Falcons are intrigued by his big-play potential at running back and on returns.Cominsky or Green could develop into long-term surprises of the draft class.SURPRISE MOVEAfter continuing his streak of making at least one trade in each of his 12 drafts as Atlanta’s general manager by adding a second first-round pick, Dimitroff remained inactive on the second day of the draft. Dimitroff traded away his second- and third-round picks but was widely expected to pull off a trade back into the second day. The surprise was he couldn’t deal two or more of his Saturday picks to move back into the second or third rounds.HOW THEY DIDAtlanta had ample picks to allow Dimitroff the luxury of overhauling the offensive line with two first-round picks. He knew taking a guard so high in the first round would generate some negative reviews, but he and coach Dan Quinn agreed Lindstrom was the right pick. Adding McGary at No. 31 overall meant the Falcons could have two rookies starting on the right side of the line.Dimitroff may have gambled on some high-upside picks, including Cominsky, who was an option quarterback in high school before gaining 70 pounds in college. Ollison, a power runner, had inconsistent production at Pittsburgh.It will be judged as a successful draft if Lindstrom and McGary win starting jobs, Ollison can be a complementary running back with Devonta Freeman and Sheffield and Cominsky win roster spots and contribute on special teams.WHAT’S NEXT?Dimitroff was successful in filling needs, though there may be room for more help on the defensive line, at linebacker and perhaps at running back from undrafted free agents. ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Before Alzheimer’s forced him to step down several years ago, Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen began his day the same way every day: grabbing two sticks of Big Red gum from the equipment room and then stopping by the training room for updates from head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos.“Our conversations went from the players’ injuries to the players’ families to his issues,” Antonopulos recalled. “The trusted relationship that we had with each other has been phenomenal.”The Bowlen family announced Tuesday that Antonopulos , affectionately known as “Greek,” and now the team’s director of sports medicine, will present Bowlen into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3.Antonopulos will become just the second athletic trainer to serve as a Hall of Fame presenter, joining Ed Abramoski, who presented former Buffalo Bills guard Billy Shaw in 1999.“I’m so humbled and honored that they have chosen me to do this. It means a lot to me. It’s a great honor,” said Antonopulos, who is the only employee who has worked full time at the Broncos’ training facility since Bowlen bought the team in 1984.Antonopulos’ 43 years as a Broncos athletic trainer are believed to be the most in NFL history with a single team and include 37 seasons (1980-2016) as the team’s head athletic trainer.Antonopulos said that when he presents Bowlen, he wants to make sure to convey how much Bowlen put winning atop his to-do list and how he genuinely cared for everyone who worked for him.The two became fast friends as a result.“It all started with him coming in and asking about players,” Antonopulos said. “Nobody cared about players more than Mr. Bowlen. He liked to communicate with them, not because he wanted to rub elbows, but because he cared about them.”Antonopulos said Bowlen’s competitive drive was overshadowed only by his compassion for others Michael Jordan Jersey , something that became apparent when he won his first Super Bowl trophy and immediately dedicated it to his quarterback, John Elway.“That guy was crazy the way he worked out. We all know that he was involved in triathlons and that kind of thing, but it was unbelievable the way he worked here. He’d come into the training room and work for an hour, and I’m like, ‘Man, this is unbelievable how this guy is,'” Antonopulos said. “During the playoffs, he was always in finding out everything he could to win. Then when we finally did, you really saw his compassion if you think about it: ‘This one’s for John.’“It was about all John went through and how he embraced that. He wanted that for John. Not only himself, but like I said, he’s a humble man. It just breaks his heart to see the way that he is. It’s just a neat thing that he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

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