Recapping news and headlines involving the Falcons from the week of June 12…
Roddy shows up
Roddy White participated in his first player-organized workout on Tuesday this week. White had been absent at the player-organized Falcons workouts this off-season thus far this season. Per quarterback Matt Ryan, White showed up in good shape and was productive in his first practice. Last week, White was in his hometown of James Island, SC for a youth football camp. (Source: D. Orlando Ledbetter, AJC)
Sanders to represent Falcons in HOF
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that 2011 inductee and former Falcons cornerback Deion Sanders sent in his Falcons helmet along with a game ball from 1990 to Canton as part of a special exhibit that will be devoted to the 2011 inductee class.
Sanders was a first round pick by the Falcons in 1989, starring for five seasons with the Falcons before joining the San Francisco 49ers in 1994. He then played five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, and then joined the Washington Redskins in 2000. Sanders initially retired, but came out of retirement to spend two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens in 2004 and 2005. Sanders made 8 Pro Bowls during his 13-year NFL career, including 3 in Atlanta.
When he left Atlanta in 1993, he was the team’s all-time leader in punt return touchdowns, kickoff return touchdowns, and kickoff yardage. Those records have since been eclipsed. He currently sits seventh all-time on the Falcons interception leaders list with 24, as well as tied for the lead with 3 interception return touchdowns.
The gameball comes from a 38-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on a Sunday Night matchup on October 28, 1990. In that game, he returned a 79-yard punt for a touchdown, which continues to hold the record for longest in team history.
The 2011 class will be enshrined at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on August 6, 2011. Sanders will be inducted along with defensive lineman Richard Dent, running back Marshall Faulk, linebackers Chris Hanburger and Les Richter, tight end Shannon Sharpe, and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol. (Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame)
Falcons promote Polk
The team announced that they had promoted pro scout DeJuan Polk to pro personnel coordinator. Polk first joined the organization in 2006 where he worked as a pro personnel assistant. He became Midwest regional scout in the college scouting department in 2008 and then moved back to pro scouting the following year. (Source: Jay Adams, AtlantaFalcons.com)
Babineaux gets a Day
Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux is being honored by the Atlanta City Council for his off-field and charity work. Monday, June 20 will be declared “Jonathan Babineaux Day.” Babineaux contributes to over 50 Atlanta-area charities and non-profit organizations. He made donations exceeding $50,000 worth of Falcons home game tickets, some of which were awarded to deaf and blind children in order to experience their first NFL game. Babineaux, along with his brother Jordan, a defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, established the Babineaux Family Foundation in 2005, which raises funds for lupus research. The brothers’ foundation will host its seventh annual golf tournament on Saturday, June 25 in Beaumont, Texas. Proceeds will benefit the Lupus Foundation, area student scholarships, and local community development. (Source: Sarah Baldwin, CBS Atlanta)
Dunn awarded with Jefferson
Falcons minority owner and former running back Warrick Dunn has been honored with the Jefferson Award, one of the country’s highest honors for community service. They were created in 1972 to be a Nobel Prize for public service. Along with 16 others, Dunn will receive the award in the category of Outstanding Athlete in Service and Philanthropy at a gala in Washington, DC on Tuesday, June 21.
Dunn started his Homes for the Holidays program in 1997, his rookie season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to honor his late mother’s dream of homeownership. Through his foundation, Dunn has awarded over 100 homes to single-parent families in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Tallahassee, and Tampa areas. Dunn’s mother was a Baton Rouge police officer that was gunned down while off-duty in 1993, two days after Dunn’s 18th birthday, leaving him in charge of the care of his five siblings.
Dunn joined the Falcons in 2002, and played six seasons with the team. He retired after the 2008 season, a year after re-joining the Buccaneers. He bought a minority stake in the Falcons organization from Arthur Blank in December 2009.
Last year, Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was honored in Dunn’s category, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won the award in 2006. (Source: Heather Dinich, ESPN)