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Devonta Freeman's plan: Stay with Falcons, pay for sisters' college

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Devonta Freeman's plan: Stay with Falcons, pay for sisters' college

 

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Staff Writer

 

Devonta Freeman doesn’t want to get caught up in a contract dispute. He just wants to take care of his family.

 

When the Atlanta Falcons running back was asked about his mentor, Luther Campbell, nudging the Falcons on Twitter last week and implying that Freeman would need to be traded to get the payday he deserves -- Campbell was reacting to cornerback Desmond Trufant being on the verge of a lucrative deal and backup quarterback Matt Schaub receiving a two-year, $9 million extension -- Freeman just brushed it off. Campbell's wife, Kristin, is Freeman’s contract agent.

 

"This is coming out of my mouth: I definitely know I’m going to be playing for the Atlanta Falcons," Freeman told ESPN.com. "This is team I want to play for. I’m almost 100 percent for sure business will be taken care of because we’re all in this thing to win and have success.

 

"I was just talking to coach (Dan) Quinn the other day and said, 'Coach, go get them dogs, because I’m trying to get back to the Super Bowl.' He was laughing and said, 'You already know. That’s all we’re after.'"

 

Of course, Freeman, who turns 25 on Wednesday, wants to secure a long-term lucrative deal, particularly with two Pro Bowl selections and consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons to his credit. In the bigger picture, Freeman reiterated the most important aspect is taking care of his family. His plan revolves around the four people he finally moved into his five-bedroom, Atlanta-area home this past weekend: his sisters Shinice, Keyuna, Clenice, and Jerniya.

 

"I want to pay for all of them to go to college," Freeman said. "Where I come from, school wasn’t as fun growing up. I want to try and show them and teach them that school is fun, if you do it the right way, if you go to school with a purpose. You have to have a purpose for everything in life. And when you get to see the results, it’s very fun."

 

Freeman attended Florida State and is working toward his degree in sports management.

 

"I’m still taking classes, and I know the importance of education," Freeman said. "A lot of people say, 'Put me on, put me on.' This is one thing I mean by putting your family on and giving them the opportunity to be successful. It’s not just giving them everything they want, it’s making them work for it and utilizing the opportunity. Bringing them here with me, they get to live like me, but at the same time, go to school and work hard for it."

 

Freeman, the oldest of seven children, grew up in the rugged projects of Miami and brought his sisters to suburban Atlanta to pursue better opportunities. Shinice, 23, wants to study photography. Keyuna, 19, plans to be a pediatrician or nurse. Clenice, 18, is in her last year of high school and is interested in cosmetology. And Jerniya, 5, still has plenty of time to figure out her future as her brother puts her through private school.

 

Freeman is in the process of figuring out which colleges Shinice and Keyuna will attend.

 

"I have some advisers that were at Florida State with me, and they’re at Georgia State right now," Freeman said. "Or to start off, it might just be community college. And I know some people at Georgia Tech. It’s all about where I can get the best opportunity for them."

 

Freeman said he has been wise with the money he earned from his rookie contract, which included a signing bonus of almost $500,000. He is now scheduled to make $1.838 million in 2017, the final year of his contract, based on an escalator. Ten running backs will make $4 million-plus in 2017, led by Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell at $12.083 million

 

Receiving a lucrative contract extension certainly will provide more financial security for Freeman and his family. He intends to bring his mother, Lorraine, to the Atlanta suburbs as well.

 

"When we talk about contract, we know it’s a process," Freeman said. "We’re not rushing to get anything done or anything like that. It’s something you work hard for and bust your butt for. Of course, anybody wants to get rewarded. But me and my team, we definitely understand it’s a process. We understand the cap and the numbers, all the stuff that comes with it.

 

"On our end, we’re just patient. We’re just waiting for the right time. God knows my heart. I’m definitely doing this all to take care of my family and help others and even just put my family in a better situation. It’s nothing greedy or to be super-thirsty like, 'I need this, I need that.' I don’t play the game of football for the money. I play the game of football for the love. But fortunately, if you do good in football, you get rewarded very well. I’m going to take that, too. You’ve got to."

 

Much has been made of Freeman’s contract situation, which became a hot topic of discussion when the initial story from NFL.com came out during Super Bowl week. Kristin Campbell said she wanted Freeman to be paid like an "elite" running back, based on his credentials, which also include 3,127 yards from scrimmage and 27 touchdowns in 31 games over the last two seasons despite having to share touches with Tevin Coleman.

 

Freeman decline to rehash the untimeliness of the story. Falcons owners Arthur Blank admitted the timing wasn't the best, but he didn't scold Freeman over it.

 

"We love Devonta," Blank told ESPN.com during Super Bowl week. "We plan on him being a Falcon for a very long period of time."

 

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told ESPN’s Adam Schefter last week that the story during the Super Bowl was not the distraction it was painted to be. Dimitroff also said he had a couple of productive talks with Campbell after the story published.

 

Then came the tweet from Luther Campbell last week, although Campbell just wants Freeman to be appreciated and paid what he deserves.

 

"As long as we have an understanding, it doesn’t matter what anybody else says," Freeman said. "Me, Coach Q, my agent, Thomas, we’re all on the same page. As long as we’re on the same page, we’re good. It’s an understanding between us. That’s all that matters. People are going to say this and that. If you didn’t hear it from us four, it really don’t matter. It’s just talk at the end of the day."

 

http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/26231/devonta-freemans-plan-stay-with-falcons-pay-for-sisters-college

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2 minutes ago, jayu70 said:
 
 92.9 The Game Retweeted

Thomas Dimitroff said a new deal with Devonta Freeman will not happen during this free agency period.

Not surprising since Devonta isn't a free agent.

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This is all good news.  Devonta is not only the perfect RB for this offense, he is a good man.  

BTW, it is great that he will taking care of the education of his siblings.  He will be shocked by the cost of private schooling.  Good luck, Free

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1 minute ago, etherdome said:

This is all good news.  Devonta is not only the perfect RB for this offense, he is a good man.  

BTW, it is great that he will taking care of the education of his siblings.  He will be shocked by the cost of private schooling.  Good luck, Free

He will be shocked by the cost of public universities too.  Just finishing putting my 3rd through college, and it hurt.

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Luke needs to screw off. Just because we're signing other guys who will be FA before Devonta doesn't mean we aren't signing Devonta.

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Posted (edited)

Nice read.  Devonta seems like a pretty stand up dude and I can definitely respect his approach to trying to help his family with regards to giving them the opportunity to work for it rather than giving "handouts."  He is correct when he says as long as he and the Falcons brass have an understanding, it doesnt matter what anyone else says.  With that said, he really should tell the "others" to shut up and be patient.

This dude is one of my favorite Falcons and I hope we can lock him up for several more years.

Edited by Clark

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4 minutes ago, brewman said:

He will be shocked by the cost of public universities too.  Just finishing putting my 3rd through college, and it hurt.

He will be shocked at how little it will affect his bank account after his extension, too. 

PokerSteve, youngbloodz and brewman like this

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This is the man we heard about coming out of college, great perspective and appreciation of life a great leader trying to help influence those around him positively!

 

CaliFalcons likes this

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2 minutes ago, Yo_Lover said:

Luke needs to screw off. Just because we're signing other guys who will be FA before Devonta doesn't mean we aren't signing Devonta.

Agreed. Not to mention that those players have been in the league longer and play vital positions. There is a pecking order. Like it or not. 

Yo_Lover likes this

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it will either get done or it won't.

Free is not "free" and Falcons potentially control his rights for up to the next three years(if they franchised him twice).

Devonta's agent needs to understand.  Blank is more than fair to his star players.  The reality of being a RB is you have a shorter career than other positions.

Get yourself as much guaranteed money as you can and come to deal this offseason - you are always one injury from getting nothing.

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Reading this makes me believe he will get/deserves the deal....Devonta is good people.

Luke is just a crusty old uncle.

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when do you think we'll give him his new contract? prior to this upcoming season?  we have so little money under the cap now.  how can we afford him and a couple FAs like Poe?

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16 minutes ago, ket222 said:

when do you think we'll give him his new contract? prior to this upcoming season?  we have so little money under the cap now.  how can we afford him and a couple FAs like Poe?

About the same time we did schrader.. during the bye week 

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I tried to tell people here. I tried to tell 'em. Free is a good person. Luke and his agent were talking and I'm 100% sure Free had nothing to do with any of it. I just know how Luke is

Bunchy Carter likes this

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There's no way Atlanta lets a player with this type of character walk to another team. Just pay the man what he's worth.  

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What reports of a trade? Uncle Luke's comments?

And, ultimately, these comments by Free don't make any more difference about negotiations  than Uncle Luke's did. Free could still decide to not sign with the Falcons and go for a bigger payday, h#ll, once he sees what college costs for his sisters, he may have to.

 

 

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This should put to bed alot of this Devonta is selfish talk on here..man just trying to get his for him and his family..luke needs to go sit in the corner and chill let this play out..free is going to get payed when the time is right,everyone is on the same page and free knows you can't just throw money around so all parties are going to be okay just got to let it all play out and go through the process 

g-dawg and Bunchy Carter like this

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1 hour ago, Clark said:

Nice read.  Devonta seems like a pretty stand up dude and I can definitely respect his approach to trying to help his family with regards to giving them the opportunity to work for it rather than giving "handouts."  He is correct when he says as long as he and the Falcons brass have an understanding, it doesnt matter what anyone else says.  With that said, he really should tell the "others" to shut up and be patient.

This dude is one of my favorite Falcons and I hope we can lock him up for several more years.

Its definitely hard not to like him when you read something like this.

I hope he has developed a good relationship with Warrick Dunn.  Dunn could provide valuable insight on many things for Freeman including being smart with your money. 

If Freeman plays his cards right he can still have many opportunities that most don't have in Atlanta regardless of how his career in football turns out.  Just keep working hard and stay humble and with press like this.... he'll be just fine.

 

PokerSteve and Clark like this

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