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Falcons agree to terms with free agent Turner

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. The Atlanta Falcons today agreed to terms with four-year veteran running back Michael Turner as an unrestricted free agent from the San Diego Chargers.

Turner, 5-10, 237 pounds, was a fifth round selection by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, he totaled 228 carries for 1,257 yards and six touchdowns while adding 71 receiving yards as he played behind perennial Pro Bowler and 2005 NFL MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Turner has also accounted for three of San Diego s longest 11 rushes in team history (83, 74 and 73 yards) while boasting a 5.5 yards per carry career average.

We are pleased to be able to add a very talented running back and a player who has produced at a high level in this League when given the opportunity, said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. We think he s ready to take the next step and have a more prominent role in an offense and we are happy he decided that opportunity is going to be here in Atlanta.

Turner is a powerful running back who tallied 316 yards on 71 carries for a 4.5 yards per carry average last season. In three postseason games, he logged 164 yards on 43 carries filling in for an injured Tomlinson. Against the Denver Broncos in a Week 5 match-up, Turner set career highs with 147 rushing yards and a long carry of 74 yards for a touchdown helping the Chargers to a 41-3 victory at Mile High Stadium. The 100-yard performance was the third of his career. His other 100-yard games came on September 17, 2006 versus Tennessee (138 yards) and December 18, 2005 at Indianapolis (113 yards).

Besides being a quality football player, Michael Turner is a quality person, added Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. He is the type of player we are looking for to help build our football team. I m excited that he is joining the Atlanta Falcons.

Turner posted his best season in 2006 when the Northern Illinois alum posted 502 yards on 80 carries, including two touchdowns. His efforts earned him a spot on the USA Today All-Joe Team as San Diego set a team record and ranked second in the League in rushing with the help of Tomlinson. Turner also took over kickoff return duties and compiled 972 yards on 38 returns for a 25.6 average, which was fourth-best average in the NFL that season.

In 2004, Turner started and set a career-high with 15 rushing attempts while totaling 87 yards (5.8 avg.), which led the team in the season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. He out-rushed Chiefs counterpart running back Larry Johnson by 41 yards and out-gained Kansas City in rushing as a team by 17 yards. Turner totaled 20 carries for 104 yards (5.2 avg.) in his rookie campaign.

In 2003, Turner left Northern Illinois ranked 13th on the NCAA s all-time rushing list with 4,941 yards, which was also the second-highest yardage total in Mid-American Conference annals. He finished second in the nation in rushing as a junior (1,915 yards) and senior (1,648 yards). Turner shattered the school record for all-purpose yards (6,038) while finishing second in school history in points scored (288). Turner was named second-team All-America by the NFL Draft Report as a junior and senior and earned first-team All-MAC honors in his final two seasons.


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