The Falcons announced today that Ovie Mughelli was released from the team. Rumors of Ovie’s eventual departure began the moment the team used a fifth round pick on Bradie Ewing in last month’s draft. Ovie’s release is by no means a surprise, as it was predicted as a possibility way back in January on this site, but it is unfortunate given the timing. Per the AJC, he was cleared to return to practice this past Friday. And had the team decided to cut him at any point in the past 8 weeks since free agency began, it could have given him more opportunities to find a landing spot with another team and a potential starting position.
Mughelli was signed by the Falcons in 2007 to what was at the time the most lucrative deal ever given to a fullback. Although, Bobby Petrino’s offense made minimal use of that position, and thus Mughelli languished on that team during the Falcons poor season. With the introduction of Mike Smith, Mike Mularkey, and Michael Turner to the offense, Mughelli’s value increased a hundredfold. Over the course of the next three seasons, Mughelli staked out a reputation as one of the league’s top fullbacks and lead blockers in the league, culminating in him being voted to the Pro Bowl in 2010. In 2011, Mughelli suffered a knee injury in the season opener against the Chicago Bears. The injury limited him in subsequent games before he was forced to be shut down for the season at the end of October.