NFL: Falcons Rally Around Leader During Lockout

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The NFL lockout is an opportunity for many players to recuperate after a surgery, to give those banged-up bones a rest or just to get in some quality time with the family. Others are raring to go though.

The Atlanta Falcons have definitely had enough R&R and – in lieu of actual NFL training camp games – they’re playing seven-on-seven at Atlanta-area high school training fields. The character at the center of these ad-hoc workouts is QB Matt Ryan, but there are of course others out there who organize such get-togethers for teammates eager to knock off some of the lockout rust.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also organized such workouts. The fact that the QB can be considered the coach in the absence of a bone-fide one has been proven by Matt Ryan on Tuesday, when he organized a 7-on-7 workout which involved no fewer than 24 of his fellow Falcons at an Atlanta high school. Ryan gracefully deflected credit for the organization of the “event”, by acknowledging that he had help, but he was among the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave the scene of the deed and that made it pretty obvious where he stood.

Ryan said that the Falcons were a close-knit unit and that players keeping in touch with each other all the time made his task much easier. He also said that the team had pretty much agreed to get together for such impromptu workouts if the lockout was still around by this time of the year. The fact that other teams, like the Saints were also getting together for workouts also helped spur players to join the unofficial mini-camp.

Regardless of who deserves credit for making these mini-camps happen, QBs like Ryan definitely deserve props for their attitudes towards the game.