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Q&a With New Safety Chris Hope


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Atlanta Falcons: Q&A with new safety Chris Hope

7:38 pm July 3, 2012, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons safety Chris Hope, a 10-year NFL veteran, wants to finish his NFL career on a high note.

Last season, the former Tennessee Titan played in 10 games and made just two starts as he battled through two (dislocated shoulder and forearm) injuries.

When his six-year, $30.6 million contract expired after last season, he was not re-signed. The Falcons, who were looking for some depth at the safety position, signed Hope to a one-year, $925,000 contract. The parties agreed to terms on June 29.

Hope, who has been a starter at free safety for most of his career, won a Super Bowl (XL) ring with the Pittsburgh Steelers and went to the Pro Bowl following the 2008 season.

Hope, who turns 32 in September, has 690 tackles, four sacks and 20 interceptions over his career with the Steelers (2002-05) and Titans (2006-11).

Hope spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone Tuesday about joining the Falcons, his iCHope Foundation, his times with the Steelers and Titans and how he plans to fit in with the Falcons.

Q: What was attractive about signing with the Falcons?

A: The Atlanta Falcons looked good to me because they are a veteran-led team with a lot of young talent. I think they are on verge of doing something special. They’ve been to the playoffs in [three of] of the past [four] seasons. They had the best record in the entire conference two years ago, but they’ve been just coming up short. They have the makings of being a Super Bowl team. I think that they are right there, knocking on the door. I feel like, for where I’m at in my career, I want to play for something. I don’t want to play for a check. I want to play for an opportunity to win another ring.

Q: How tough was it for you last season, battling through the shoulder and forearm injuries and just starting two games?

A: It was a sad way to end my career in Tennessee if I may say so. I played some good football at a high-level and it was sad that my last year ended with an injury. I did not get a chance to go out and show everybody in the league that I can still play at a high-level. I feel that had a lot to do with why teams were scared to pick me up or why it took so long.

Q: Is that correct that you only received one B over your academic career?

A: Yes, I was as straight-A student my entire career. From grade school all the way through college. I graduated Summa *** Laude. I made one B in my entire career of school. That takes a lot of discipline, hard work and good character. I try to be the best that I can be at everything that I do. I try to do the same thing when it comes to my career.

Q: What was the B in?

A: I can’t remember, but I think it was in one those advanced placement classes in high school.

Q: How will you fit into the Falcons defense?

A: I feel like they have a great secondary with the addition of Asante Samuel, [Dunta] Robinson, [brent] Grimes and all of those guys are highly touted and elite corners in my opinion. The safeties that they’ve had the last few years are real good and they are young. With my leadership and my veteran experience, I can just come in and help them out with whatever I can. I feel like I can still play at a high-level. But again, I’ll just do whatever they ask me to do.

Q: How did your foundation’s [iCHope Foundation] fundraiser go this spring?

A: This year we helped out the Women’s Shelter [in my hometown of Rock Hill, S.C.] It was a good opportunity for me to give back to the community and touch more than just one person’s life. I’m a very religious guy. I have a strong faith. I’m Christian. I feel that the more you are given, the more you are required to give. So, I feel like giving back to an organization like the Women’s Shelter was a good opportunity for me to touch many families.

Q: Where did you get this sense of community service from?

A: I’ve never forgotten where I came from. Those people back in Rock Hill love me just for who I am and not just for what I do. They’ve been in my corner since I first picked up a football. There are a lot of great places out here to live, but there’s no place like home.

Q: Will there be much of a difference coming over to the NFC after spending you entire career in the AFC?

A: It will be a different experience. When I was younger, I would say that it was easier to make the Pro Bowl in the NFC. In the AFC, we had Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu in the AFC for so long that it was so hard to make the Pro Bowl. If those guys would not have been there, I probably would have been a Pro Bowler two or three more times.

Q: What will you tell your new teammates about winning a Super Bowl ring?

A: That was one of the things that drew me to Atlanta. They are serious about not just being a good football team. They want to be the best football team. Going out and getting Asante Samuel and signing the guys back from last year was big. Matt Ryan is a great quarterback. [Michael] Turner is a great running back. They have two high-powered receivers in Roddy White and the young guy from Alabama [Julio Jones]. They have all the tools and the keys to be a Super Bowl contender.

Q: Are you familiar with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan or any of the other coaches on the staff?

A: Mike Smith was the defensive coordinator for the Jaguars the many times that I played them while with Tennessee. During my stint in Pittsburgh, defensive backs coach Tim Lewis was my defensive coordinator my first three years in Pittsburgh. Nolan was at the 49ers when I came out in the draft and when I was a free agent. I’ve crossed paths with a few guys. When you’re blessed to have an opportunity to stay in the league for a while there are not too many guys or too many things that you haven’t ran across.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

http://blogs.ajc.com...ta_falcons_blog

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When his six-year, $30.6 million contract expired after last season, he was not re-signed. The Falcons, who were looking for some depth at the safety position, signed Hope to a one-year, $925,000 contract. The parties agreed to terms on June 29.

I really do like the Chris Hope signing. However, he might count as a qualified compensable FA signed by Atlanta, and if so, would cause Atlanta to lose a compensatory draft pick in the 2013 draft. I said Hope "might" count in the comp formula, as there is some question about whether his $925,000 salary will be over the minimum threshold amount or not, as it is very near previous years threshold cut-off amounts.

As of right now, the Falcons still appear to have a loss of at least 2 compensable UFAs (Lofton and Weems) and possibly 3 (James Sanders if his 2012 compensation of $915,000 is over the minimum threshold amount), with only Chris Hope as a possible offsetting compensable UFA signings thus far. Although the Falcons have signed 2 other FAs (Tatupu and Manuwai), they will not count in the compensable formula because they were completely out of football last season. The Falcons also lost FA Kelvin Hayden, who signed with the Bears for $825,000, but he will not count as a compensable free agent lost because his compensation is less than the minimum annual threshold amount.

If nothing else changes in free agency signings with the Falcons, then I would think that Lofton and his $5.5 million average annual compensation would net the Falcons a 4th round comp pick. Weems and his $1.4 million average annual compensation should net the Falcons a 7th round comp pick. If James Sanders $915,000 annual salary and Chris Hope's $925,000 annual salary are above the minimum threshold amount, then they will cancel out each other and leave Atlanta with a Net Loss of 2, resulting in two comp picks in the 2013 draft.

Things could still change because the free agency period has not ended yet. It does not end until the later of July 22 or the date the first NFL team begins its official training camp. If Atlanta should sign any UFA that has been cut/released by another team, he will not count in the comp formula. If Atlanta signs any UFA, but pays him below the minimum annual threshold amount, he will not count in the comp formula. If Atlanta signs any UFA after July 22, he would not count in the comp formula. However if Atlanta were to sign an UFA, who has not been cut/released to a contract above the minimum threshold amount before July 22, and this player makes the Falcons final roster, then the number of Atlanta's possible comp picks will be reduced.

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Hope Brings Experience, Chance to Push Other Safeties

Jay Adams

Published July 2, 2012 at 9:43 AM

If there’s one area that has stolen the show during the offseason, it’s the defensive back positions. From Brent Grimes’ franchise tag to trading for Asante Samuel, the secondary has been addressed, from a personnel standpoint, more than any other area on the Falcons’ roster this offseason.

That’s especially true after the addition of veteran safety Chris Hope over the weekend, who will come in and likely provide some much needed depth at the safety position.

Much like when the Falcons added vet James Sanders — a Super Bowl champ himself with the Patriots early in his career — last year during the preseason, Hope will bring with him a wealth of experience from which the Falcons’ relatively young safeties will draw from.

A former Pro Bowler with Tennessee and Super Bowl winner with Pittsburgh in 2005, Hope is in a position to not only boost what the Falcons already have at safety but provide an experienced shoulder to lean on for William Moore and Thomas DeCoud, as well as rookie safety Charles Mitchell, who was drafted in April.

With 20 interceptions in his career, Hope is certainly no stranger to asserting himself at that position, which begs the question: Can he vie for a starting spot with all things being equal in training camp?

The current strong safety position is filled by Moore, who has had a stranglehold on the job since earning it in 2010 over then-starter Erik Coleman. Last year, Sanders came in and earned a starting nod in place of DeCoud early in the season, but DeCoud earned the spot back before the two platooned at the position.

While Hope’s role with the Falcons has yet to truly be determined, it’s important to remember the mantra that is repeated day-in and day-out during training camp: Competition breeds success.

And while Hope is in the second half of his career, a safety with his credentials certainly seems like he’d bring quite a bit of competition with him to camp — which is great for all the Falcons’ safeties.

What say you?

http://blog.atlantaf...other-safeties/

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"

I graduated Summa *** Laude."

Sorry, but I LOL'd that the board's filter wouldn't let that one through. laugh.png Other than, it's great to have such an experienced and cerebral player in our secondary. I'm very happy with the Hope signing.

Lol'd at that one too :D

I really do like the Chris Hope signing. However, he might count as a qualified compensable FA signed by Atlanta, and if so, would cause Atlanta to lose a compensatory draft pick in the 2013 draft. I said Hope "might" count in the comp formula, as there is some question about whether his $925,000 salary will be over the minimum threshold amount or not, as it is very near previous years threshold cut-off amounts.

As of right now, the Falcons still appear to have a loss of at least 2 compensable UFAs (Lofton and Weems) and possibly 3 (James Sanders if his 2012 compensation of $915,000 is over the minimum threshold amount), with only Chris Hope as a possible offsetting compensable UFA signings thus far. Although the Falcons have signed 2 other FAs (Tatupu and Manuwai), they will not count in the compensable formula because they were completely out of football last season. The Falcons also lost FA Kelvin Hayden, who signed with the Bears for $825,000, but he will not count as a compensable free agent lost because his compensation is less than the minimum annual threshold amount.

If nothing else changes in free agency signings with the Falcons, then I would think that Lofton and his $5.5 million average annual compensation would net the Falcons a 4th round comp pick. Weems and his $1.4 million average annual compensation should net the Falcons a 7th round comp pick. If James Sanders $915,000 annual salary and Chris Hope's $925,000 annual salary are above the minimum threshold amount, then they will cancel out each other and leave Atlanta with a Net Loss of 2, resulting in two comp picks in the 2013 draft.

Things could still change because the free agency period has not ended yet. It does not end until the later of July 22 or the date the first NFL team begins its official training camp. If Atlanta should sign any UFA that has been cut/released by another team, he will not count in the comp formula. If Atlanta signs any UFA, but pays him below the minimum annual threshold amount, he will not count in the comp formula. If Atlanta signs any UFA after July 22, he would not count in the comp formula. However if Atlanta were to sign an UFA, who has not been cut/released to a contract above the minimum threshold amount before July 22, and this player makes the Falcons final roster, then the number of Atlanta's possible comp picks will be reduced.

interesting stuff, thanks for the insight

Edited by Mattbob_Icepants
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