Cover 9@9: Brett Favre ready for his enshrinement in Canton

 Frank Niemeir / AJC The Atlanta Falcons drafted quarterback Brett Favre 33rd overall in the 1991 draft. After a disappointing seasons in Atlanta, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers where he went on to have a Hall of Famer career and was voted league MVP three seasons in a row (1995-97).

Frank Niemeir / AJC
The Atlanta Falcons drafted quarterback Brett Favre 33rd overall in the 1991 draft. After a disappointing season in Atlanta, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers where he went on to have a Hall of Fame career and was voted league MVP three seasons in a row (1995-97).

1. Worst trade in team history. The Falcons cut bait on their medical gamble on quarterback Brett Favre before he could develop into a player.

We don’t have to rehash his dubious stay in Atlanta, the parties in Buckhead nor that Jerry Glanville forced a trade to the Green Bay Packers.

Before the 1991 draft, Favre’s medical history scared off a lot of teams and the Falcons nearly got him back because the Packers’ doctors would not pass him on physical.

Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf, an Al Davis disciple who was trying to revive his career after a failed stop in Tampa Bay, stepped in and vetoed the doctor’s decision. Now Favre, after his storied career, is set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio.

“I knew right away that my hip was an issue,” Favre said Tuesday on a conference call. “I’d hurt my hip in the East-West Shrine game and I think the general consensus was vascular stenosis sort of like what Bo Jackson had.

“I don’t want to sound like a doctor, but a vascular stenosis can spread or just kind of lay in wait or it can deteriorate the bone very rapidly. That’s when the blood supply is basically cut off to a joint or something along those lines. I had that diagnosis so some teams were turned away. Seattle being one of them.”

With collegiate victories over Florida State, Alabama and Auburn while at Southern Mississippi, Favre seemed destined for greatness. He nearly pulled off an upset of Georgia before the Bulldogs prevailed 18-17 on Sept. 15, 1990. He lasted until the 33rd overall pick of the second round.

“For Atlanta, I did MRIs,” Favre said. “I did X-rays for numerous teams. Some said, ‘naw we are just not going to take that chance.’ Others said, ‘we will take that chance’ and Atlanta was one of them.”

His time here was brief. He played in two games, attempted four passes and had two interceptions in 1991 before Glanville had him run out of town.

He was traded for Green Bay’s second first-rounder in 1992, which turned out to be running back Tony Smith from Southern Miss (19th overall). Smith played in 33 games, made six starts and rushed for 329 yards over three seasons. He was used mostly as a kickoff and punt returner.

Favre went on to throw for 71,838 yards, 508 touchdowns, 336 interceptions and led the Packers to 11 postseasons, including two Super Bowls and one world title.

Here’s Ken Herock’s take on the trade.

Favre is still thankful that Wolf over-ruled the team doctors.

Packers quarterback Brett Favre sits dejected in the snow as Falcons defensive ends Brady Smith (center) and Patrick Kerney come up with his fumble celebrating during 4th quarter. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Packers quarterback Brett Favre sits dejected in the snow as Falcons defensive ends Brady Smith (center) and Patrick Kerney come up with his fumble celebrating during 4th quarter. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

“The doctors said he could play five or seven years, then again he may not,” Favre said. “That’s not taking into account how you play on the field. A debt of gratitude, with or without that scenario, is forever payable and I’ve told Ron that over and over again.

“In fact I had a conversation with him (Monday night). We both are always so thankful to one another and you’d think we’d get over that at some point. It’s really a wonderful story.”

Wolf was inducted in the Hall of Fame last season.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, left, embraces Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre following their wildcard playoff game in 2003.The Falcons won 27-7. (Associated Press)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, left, embraces Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre following their wildcard playoff game in 2003.The Falcons won 27-7. It was Green Bay’s first lost in 12 playoff games at historic Lambeau Field. (Associated Press)

Favre took note of the gamble by Wolf on a kid who’d basically blown the trust of his first NFL head coach.

“In his case, sticking his neck out there at a time when he just had a new job with a storied and traditional franchise like the Packers, boy, what a gamble,” Favre said. “I’m forever thankful for that. I know that he’s said over and over to me that he was thankful to me that it worked out.”

2. Glanville’s side.  He wanted the Falcons to draft Louisville quarterback Browning Nagle.

Favre’s major issues were off the field (Buckhead), mainly with alcohol.

“I tried everything with Brett,’’ Glanville said. “He needed to grow up and he was young, and I even flew in his parents to try to help me with him. But I couldn’t get him to function. I went to all the hangouts in town. You remember Frankie’s (at the Prado), I went there and asked them to stop letting him drink. But sooner or later, one guy can’t be bigger than the organization.

“I knew he was a player. (Pro Bowl offensive lineman) Bill Fralic would holler at him and chew on him, but Bill would always tell me, ‘The kid is going to be a great player.’ In all my years of coaching, he is the only player I ever had that wasn’t in the team picture. Brett knew he screwed up when he missed that. I tried and I probably should have worked harder with him.’’

 Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (7) breaks away from Packers' Tyrone Williams (37) and Steve Warren (96) in a 27-7 upset over the Packers and Brett Favre in the 2003 playoffs. It was Green Bay's first lost in 12 playoff games at historic Lambeau Field. By Darren Hauck, AP

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick (7) breaks away from Packers’ Tyrone Williams (37) and Steve Warren (96) in a 27-7 upset over the Packers and Brett Favre in the 2003 playoffs. It was Green Bay’s first lost in 12 playoff games at historic Lambeau Field.
By Darren Hauck, AP

3. Durant to Cowboys. The Cowboys signed linebacker Justin Durant to a one-year deal Monday. He played for the Falcons last season, but was released.

4. Stone settles. Center James Stone, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, reached an injury settlement with the Falcons on Tuesday.

5. Swamp Fox. Marion Campbell, the only head coach to serve two stints with the Falcons, died last Wednesday, it was announced late Sunday. He was 87.

Columnist Mark Bradley had a nice reflective column on his tenures with the Falcons and here’s what others had to say about coach, who was nicknamed the Swamp Fox when he played at the University of Georgia.

6. Georgia Dome Park. When the Georgia Dome is eventually destroyed, the area will serve as a park on non-game days. Here’s the story on that.

7. Super Bowl planning has started. With the construction of the Mercedes Benz Stadium shifting in to high gear, the planning for the Super Bowl and the other big events landed by the city has started. (We’ve also been told that all of the vice presidents and their secretaries are getting some nice new German rides. The team’s deal with Ford is expiring.)

8. Youth coaching clinic. The Falcons will host a youth football coaching clinic at Meadowcreek High from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Speakers will include former Atlanta Falcons linebacker and USA Football master trainer Buddy Curry, Georgia Tech football assistant coach Lamar Owens, local high school head coaches and members of the Positive Coaching Alliance and Growing Leaders organizations. Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Terance Mathis is the keynote speaker. Registration is required.

(All of you youth coaches out there yelling and screaming at the kids need to attend. If you know what you’re doing and how to teach it to the kids, there’s no need for all that yelling and screaming. You know who you are!)

9. Countdown to camp. The Falcons report for training camp on Wednesday. The first practice is set for Thursday, July 28. Several practices will be open to the public.

Here’s a closer look at the training camp schedule:

July

27 – Wednesday, team reports for camp.

28 – Thursday, practice open to public, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

29 – Friday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

30 – Saturday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

31 – Sunday, public practice, 10:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

August

1 – Monday, no practice.

2 – Tuesday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

3 – Wednesday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

4 – Thursday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

5 – Friday, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Grayson High School

6 – Saturday, players off.

7 – Sunday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

8- Monday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

9 – Tuesday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

10 – Wednesday, public practice 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

11 – Thursday vs. Washington 7 p.m. (Georgia Dome).

12 – Friday, closed practice.

13 – Saturday, players off.

14 – Sunday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

15 – Monday, public practice, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

16 – Tuesday, public practice: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Depth chart. Here’s the projected depth chart heading into training camp.

OFFENSE

WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 17 Devin Hester, 87 Devin Fuller, 18 Jordan Leslie

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 71 Wes Schweitzer, 79 Shabaz Ahmed

C   51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland, 69 Jake Reed

RG 65 Chris Chester, 68 Mike Person, 64 Collin Rahrig, Michael Huey

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Bryce Harris, 66 Laurence Gibson

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 80 Levine Toilolo, 81 Austin Hooper, 86 D.J. Tialavea, 82 Joshua Perkins

WR Mohamed Sanu, 14 Eric Weems, 19 Aldrick Robinson, 15 Nick Williams, 7 David Glidden, 85 J.D. McKissic, 89 Daje Johnson

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 12 Sean Renfree, 4 Matt Simms

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 28 Terron Ward, 35 Gus Johnson, 20 Brandon Wilds

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco, 39 Will Ratelle

NICKEL DEFENSE

RDE 99 Adrian Clayborn, 50 Brooks Reed, 91 Courtney Upshaw, 71 Brandon Williams

DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 94 Tyson Jackson, 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 96 Nordly Capi, 98 Cory Johnson

DT 90 Derrick Shelby, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 92 Joey Mbu, 74 Chris Mayes

LDE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 48 Ivan McLennan, 93 Malliciah Goodman, 52 Tyler Starr

LB 56 Sean Weatherspoon, 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 41 Philip Wheeler, 46 Torrey Green

LB 55 Paul Worrilow, 45 Deion Jones, 53 LaRoy Reynolds

RCB 25 Akeem King, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 33 Devonte Johnson, 32 Jalen Collins (Suspended for 4 games)

NCB 23 Robert Alford, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke

LCB 21 Desmond Trufant,, 38 David Mims II, 39 Jordan Sefon

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie, 20 Sharrod Neaseman, 34 Brian Poole

SS 22 Keanu Neal, 30 Charles Godfrey, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 40 Damian Parms

BASE 4-3

RDE  99 Adrian Clayborn, 91 Courtney Upshaw, 71 Brandon Williams, 96 Nordly Capi

DT  77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 98 Cory Johnson

NT 97 Grady Jarrett, 94 Tyson Jackson, 92 Joey Mbu, 74 Chris Mayes

LDE  90 Derrick Shelby, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 93 Malliciah Goodman, 52 Tyler Starr

WLB 56 Sean Weatherspoon, 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 46 Torrey Green, 48 Ivan McLennan

MLB 55 Paul Worrilow, 45 Deion Jones, 53 LaRoy Reynolds

SLB 44 Vic Beasley, 41 Philip Wheeler, 50 Brooks Reed, 91 Courtney Upshaw,

RCB 25 Akeem King, 32 Jalen Collins, 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 33 Devonte Johnson, 38 David Mims II

LCB 21 Desmond Trufant, 43 DeMarcus Van Dyke, 39 Jordan Sefon, 34 Brian Poole

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie, 20 Sharrod Neaseman

SS 22 Keanu Neal, 30 Charles Godfrey, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 40 Damian Parms

SPECIALISTS

K 3 Matt Bryant, 1 Nick Rose

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy, 7 David Glidden, 85 J.D. McKissic

PR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy, 7 David Glidden, 85 J.D. McKissic

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher, 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub

PROJECT PASS RUSH

Dan Quinn pressing all buttons to create a pass rush

How does drafting Keanu Neal help the pass rush?

DL line coach Bryan Cox: Hageman needs to improve his play

LB coach Jeff Ulbrich: ‘Cream will rise’ at linebacker for Falcons

Defensive coordinator Richard Smith pleased with early progress of the defense

Falcons still have a spot for DT Jonathan Babineaux

Dwight Freeney 95 percent certain that he will play in 2016

Falcons working 80 percent of time on pass rush

Weatherspoon on Freeney: ‘He still has it’

90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS — POSITION BY POSITION

OFFENSE

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Quarterbacks

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Running backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Wide receivers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Tight ends

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Offensive line

DEFENSE

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Defensive line

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Linebackers

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Defensive backs

Atlanta Falcons 90-man roster analysis: Specialists

 


View Comments 0