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Falcons hoped to have Weatherspoon signed at start of camp


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Falcons hoped to have Weatherspoon signed at start of camp

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Falcons are intensifying their efforts to get Sean Weatherspoon, their first-round draft pick, signed and into training camp on time, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

The negotiations picked up Monday when the Falcons talked directly with David Dunn, the chairman and chief executive officer of Athlete's First, the California-based firm that represents Weatherspoon.

"I'm very confident that we are going to have things done and that he'll be ready to go at the beginning of camp," Dimitroff said Tuesday before speaking to the Atlanta Press Club.

Players are scheduled to report to Flowery Branch on Thursday and have their first practice Friday morning.

"When I talked to David Dunn and his representatives yesterday, we were very clear that we want to have [Weatherspoon] here from Day One," Dimitroff said. "We have a nice streak of having our players ready, getting them signed in time, and I think Sean will be signed in time."

Dunn has not returned phone or e-mail messages.

The process of signing first-round picks has been slow NFL-wide this year.

"Agents and players are waiting to see how things stack up," Dimitroff said. "It's a slotting system. No one was real energetic about jumping in early."

Weatherspoon was the 19th player selected in the draft. Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin was the 19th player selected last season, and he received a five-year, $15.5 million deal.

Injury update

Wide receiver Harry Douglas, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and cornerback Brian Williams all have been medically cleared to participate in practice, coach Mike Smith said.

“They will start on a limited basis, and we’re going to monitor them and manage them throughout training camp,” Smith said. “They will not be involved, to start with, in two-a-days. They will be practicing once a day, and we’ll bring them along very, very slowly.”

All three players suffered season-ending knee injuries last season.

"Our new trainer, Marty Lauzon has done a great job with these guys," Dimitroff said. "We are excited about their healing."

Rookie hazing

When camp opens, rookies will be expected to participate in certain rituals, such as carrying some of the veterans' equipment.

Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant recently refused to carry equipment for a veteran. He made a rookie mistake that could lead to additional duties or chores.

"We have an element of levity within the Atlanta Falcons," Dimitroff said. "Quite frankly, a lot of guys that we bring in, they take it in stride. That's how it should be as long as it's not harming anyone, or putting someone in a bad spot physically."

Moore is ready

Dimitroff was asked about safety William Moore during the question-and-answer period at the luncheon.

"He's coming along well," Dimitroff said. "There is going to be a battle at the safety position. William is healthy, and we are expecting him to step up. If not right away as a safety, then he will play on special teams. He's a big guy, and he has a nose for the football."

Roddy's tweets

Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White wanted to let fans know that he had to get his feet pampered before reporting to training camp.

"Gettin[g] a pedicure before camp starts so my money makers can be right," he sent out Tuesday on his Twitter account, @roddywhite_tv.

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I think with Dez signing and being so close to Spoon's slot that it will make it easier to figure out the numbers. For Roddy I say whatever he needs to do to get the job done, if it helps him catch the ball and run faster then I say do that every Saturday before game day, lol.

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