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Crumpler holds no bad feelings about Falcons


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Falcons owner Arthur Blank politely waited to get in a word with Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler, who stood near the players’ lounge at the Georgia Dome speaking with reporters and old friends after Atlanta’s 17-3, preseason victory over the Titans on Friday.

Blank eventually interrupted and shook hands with Crumpler, who had spent his entire seven-year career with the Falcons before being released last winter. In a nutshell, Blank told the four-time Pro Bowl player about his affection for him and that him being cut loose was nothing personal.

It’s just the nature of things in this business.

“The Smiths brought me in. Dan Reeves brought me in. They’re gone,” Crumpler said, referring to the former ownership family and head coach, respectively. “The front office is gone. The guy that brought me in, Ron Hill, is up in New York in the league office. I’ve always been prepared for this moment.

“I knew I wasn’t putting that bird on my helmet anymore. It was very clear to me from the way things were going. I enjoyed coming back. I didn’t have any mixed emotions or any wrong feelings.”

He said that’s because he is with a team now that needs him and feels toward him the way the Falcons once did. The Titans are excited about adding a player who could upgrade their passing efficiency in third-down and red-zone situations and provide welcomed leadership.

As for Crumpler’s legacy with the Falcons as they try to move forward, the answer might have come when he made a 6-yard catch in the first quarter of Atlanta’s 17-3 victory. There were more boos than cheers.

The Falcons, “opened the door, they gave me an opportunity and I’m forever thankful,” Crumpler said. “I don’t have any resentment toward anybody that’s currently in this organization. Period.”

But he has plenty for former coach Bobby Petrino, whom Crumpler wouldn’t mention by name. Crumpler had one of his worst seasons ever in 2007 under Petrino, who resigned after 13 games to coach at the University of Arkansas.

He caught only 42 passes for 444 yards and five touchdowns. It was his worst output since his rookie season.

Crumpler was critical of Petrino’s use of him early last season and Petrino held it against him. Crumpler’s bad knee — he has arthroscopic surgery before last season — were often cited for his down season.

Crumpler said things weren’t as bad as they seemed, physically.

“I tried to practice some of those days, and that guy wouldn’t let me,” said Crumpler, adding that he hasn’t missed a practice or offseason workout this summer, something commonplace the past few seasons because of his knees. “There were days I started to feel really good, and he wouldn’t let me.”

Crumpler said Petrino never gave him an explanation.

“Does he give anybody a reason? Did he give you a reason when he took off?” Crumpler asked.

When he was released, Crumpler was pursued by Seattle, where former Falcons coach Jim Mora serves as an assistant and has been tabbed to replace coach Mike Holmgren next season. Crumpler decided playing for Tennessee was a better fit.

“There are similarities,” Crumpler said of the Titans and Falcons. “They have a good defense — better defense. A stable head coach, something I was looking for. Somebody I could talk to, somebody that knows football — the NFL.

“There are some of the parallels between Mike [Vick] and [quarterback] Vince [Young]. I knew I was going to a situation I could help. I wanted to help fill a need. Throughout training camp, throughout the entire offseason it’s been great.”

In a side note, Crumpler had positive things to say about Falcons’ rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. Crumpler said he worked out with Ryan in the offseason in Arizona before Ryan settled in full time with the Falcons.

“I talked with him about the organization, he asked questions about Mr. Blank,” Crumpler said. “I told him this team is starving for a winner, and he’d be a great fit. I really felt that way. Just by catching his ball watching him workout I knew he had a really good head on his shoulders.”

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Even though Crump was a good guy while he was here, he broke one of my most cardnial rules- don't bad mouth your teammates (aka "throw them under the bus") when you leave to go to a new team. I really didn't like the comment he made when he was first traded to the Titans months ago saying he was glad to FINALLY be on a team with players that practies and plays hard." That was low class and I expected better from him. Everything was in shambles last year and everyone including Crump had issues with the way things were going with Bobby PeStinko so I think that comment was unfair to his former teammates. It was as difficult for them as it was for him to buy into a quitting loser of a coach so to pass judgement on his teammates for something he was as guilty of as anyone was a little hypocritical IMO. Now if he has taken that back and realized that was a mistake- it's all good, but until I hear that has happened I will remain happy that he was booed by most of the fans in the Dome when he showed up here Friday. Sorry to have to say this about him because he WAS one of my favorites and played his butt off 24/7, but I really don't like it when players leaving a team take shots at their former teammates like Chris Draft did. Now if he had a problem with management/ownership over the trade or how it was handled, that is one thing I could understand, but his teammates are in the same boat he is in and had nothing to do with him being traded. To take shots at them was cheap IMO. <_<

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Of all the moves made by the Dimitroff / Smith regime, cutting Crump was the only one I really had an issue with.

I met Crumpler sometime back. In a short conversation with him you could tell this was an intelligent and basically decent guy. As we all know, Pro-football is a rough game and you're only as good as your last season. Crumpler is smart enough to know the score on these matters. I suspect that if almost anyone other than Petrino was coach last season Crump would probably still be on the roster.

Man, when someone like Alge Crumpler has a bad opinion towards a coach, as he obviously does towards Petrino, you just know things were pretty bad in the 2007 locker room. There have been plenty of bad coaches in the NFL, but Petrino took basic incompetency (and he was incompetent in the NFL) to a new level.

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