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  1. Facetime will help Falcons' Takk McKinley stay up to speed despite NFL restriction 4:20 PM ET Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley won't be allowed to stick around after this weekend's rookie minicamp due to an NFL rule. But thanks to modern technology, the defensive end won't fall behind in picking up the playbook. McKinley, like third-round draft pick Austin Hooper of Stanford was last year, is prohibited from participating in any Falcons offseason activities outside of rookie minicamp because classes at his school, UCLA, are ongoing. According to the NFL rule, if final examinations at a player's school conclude after May 9, the player may not participate in any activities other than rookie minicamp. Graduate students are excluded. The rule has been in place since the 1990s. McKinley is not currently taking classes, but UCLA's final examination run until June 16. McKinley won't be able to rejoin his teammates until training camp in late July. That won't be too much of a problem from an on-field standpoint, because McKinley continues to recover from March surgery on his right shoulder, fixing an injury he initially said would sideline him four to six months. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he expects McKinley to be ready to go, health-wise, by training camp. But to get up to speed with the defense, McKinley will have constant contact with the coaches via Facetime and possibly even Skype while back in California. "I've got a playbook and I'm going to talk to Coach [Bryant] Young and Coach Quinn," McKinley said. "If I have any questions about any plays, I'm just going to call and ask. It's not that hard." Quinn was asked which method he'd prefer to remain in contact with McKinley. "Both Facetime and phone," he said. "He's here until Sunday, then he's not allowed to be with the team until actually after minicamp [June 13-15]. That's when UCLA gets out. "He's got a plan for his rehab, and that's the No. 1 priority with his shoulder right now -- the rehab and the conditioning. The football part of it, the learning, the stuff you learn in the playbook, we're allowed to do a little bit of that over the phone. But it's an important weekend for him to be here getting indoctrinated, getting to meet his teammates. And then it's kind of like, 'Hey, man, you're gone for a month.'" On Day 1 of rookie minicamp Friday, McKinley ran on a side field away from the rest of the rookies during warm-ups. During practice, he worked with a member of the athletic performance staff going through various ladder drills. He's itching to get on the field, of course. "It's very frustrating," McKinley said. "I like to compete. I like football. I don't like to be on the sideline and just watching. I'd rather be out there with my brothers helping make plays. I understand it's a process. Gotta get the shoulder right. And once it's right, I want to help the Atlanta Falcons any way I can to get wins."
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