FLOWERY BRANCH – The decision to release left tackle Sam Backer on Monday was a mutual decision between Falcons coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
“He did a great job for the team and really worked hard in his rehab,” Quinn said on Tuesday after the first minicamp practice. “At the end of the day it came down to a football decision we made together, Thomas and myself and we moved on from Sam yesterday.”
With Baker at left tackle, the Falcon went 13-3 in 2010 and 2012. He was drafted 21st overall in the 2008 draft and started 60 of 71 games that he played.
Injuries were a factor as he played in just four games over the past two seasons.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is close to Baker and said it was hard to see him released.
“It’s never fun,” Ryan said. “That’s the part of the business that isn’t fun. Sam was a huge part of what did coming in same draft class and really over the last seven years he was a productive part of this team and helped us win a lot of games. He’ll be missed.”
With the release of Baker, the Falcons only have 15 of the players who were on the 53-man roster for the NFC championship game against the San Francisco on Jan. 20, 2013.
Baker, who’s rehabbing from a knee injury that caused him to miss all of last season, has been quiet since his release.
“He’s a good friend and really good guy,” Ryan said. “I wish him the best with everything moving forward, but that’s the tough part of the business.”
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