Former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn has rejoined the team, but this time as upper management as it was reported that he has been approved to purchase a minority stake in the organization. NFL owners voted unanimously to approve the deal, which should be finalized by March 1, 2010.
Arthur Blank still maintains a 90-percent majority in ownership of the team. Blank has already sold minority stakes in the team earlier this year.
Dunn played for the Falcons between 2002 and 2007. His 5,981 rushing yards rank second all-time on the team behind Gerald Riggs. Coupled with 1,635 receiving yards, his 7,616 total yards from scrimmage rank third all-time in the franchise. Along with six seasons he played for the Falcons, Dunn also played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from whom he retired following the 2008 season. Including his Tampa totals, he is currently ranked 19th in rushing yards with 10,967 and 15th in yards from scrimmage with 15,306. He was voted to three Pro Bowls and was voted Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2004. Not only known for his accomplishments on the field, Dunn was noted for his off-field contributions and community relations in both Atlanta and the Tampa Bay Area.
The Kansas City Chiefs announced today that they have hired Phil Emery to serve as their director of college scouting. Emery most recently served as the Falcons Eastern regional scout and has been with the Falcons since May 2004. Emery served as the director of college scout in Atlanta before being re-assigned when the team hired David Caldwell last year.
The team also announced yesterday that they made additional changes in their front office. Marvin Allen will replace Emery as Eastern regional scout, coming over to the team after sixteen years working within the New England Patriots organization, most of which as an area scout. Allen played running back for the Patriots from 1988-91 before joining the team’s front office.
The team also promoted Mark Olson to be Western regional scout, after ten years working in the team’s scouting department. He joined the team as a scouting assistant in 1998, and has been scouting the West for the past four years.
The team also hired Bob Kronenberg to join as an area scout. Kronenberg was an assistant coach with the Georgia Force of the AFL for the past seven years. He was an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator with the team which is also owned by Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Prior to joining the Force in 2002, he worked as an assistant coach with the Nashville Kats.
The Falcons announced the promotion of Les Snead to Director of Player Personnel today. Per the Falcons release, Snead will work together with Asst. Director of Player Personnel Lionel Vital, who was hired last May, overseeing the player personnel department and working both in college and pro scouting.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Falcons team president Rich McKay is no longer a candidate for the Cleveland Browns open general manager position. This report confirms what Jay Glazer of FOX Sports had reported last week that McKay had rebuffed the Browns overtures, which had been disputed by the Plain Dealer indicating that McKay’s interview had only been postponed until after their playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Browns hired ex-New York Jets coach Eric Mangini this past Thursday, and are currently looking for a new general manager.
The Falcons announced the hiring of Lionel Vital as the team’s new assistant director of player personnel. Vital was among candidates the Falcons interviewed following the draft to beef up their front office. Last week the Falcons hired former Indianapolis Colts scout David Caldwell as the team’s new director of college scouting.
Vital has previous working experience with Dimitroff, having spent a few years working closely together with each other in the New England Patriots organization. Vital’s exact responsibilities in his new role with the Falcons has yet to be specified.
The Falcons announced the hiring of David Caldwell as the team’s new director of college scouting.
Caldwell recently served as western regional scout for the Indianapolis Colts since 2006. The previous eight seasons he was an area scout with the Colts. He also spent two years as a scouting assistant with the Carolina Panthers (1996-97). Caldwell is a graduate of John Carroll University, where he played linebacker.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that the Denver Broncos have hired Brian Xanders as an assistant GM. Xanders has been a long-time front office employee and assistant coach with the Falcons, joining the team 14 years ago. According to Klis, the Falcons attempted to entice Xanders to stay, but he opted to leave for Denver where he is expected to have an expansion of his duties that he performs in Atlanta. The past few seasons with the Falcons Xanders has functioned as the team’s salary cap manager and chief contract negotiator.
The Falcons are in the process of interviewing candidates to add to their own front office. It’s unknown if any of these prospective hires will take over some or all of Xanders’s former duties, or if the team will promote from within.
The Denver Post reports that Falcons director of football administration Brian Xanders is a candidate for an upper-level personnel position in the Denver Broncos front office. Earlier this off-season, the Broncos fired GM Ted Sundquist. Xanders is a candidate to fill some of the duties in Sundquist’s absence. Xanders is expected to form a sort of “triumvirate” in the Broncos front office along with current execs Jim and Jeff Goodman.
Previously, Xanders was considered for an open position with the Green Bay Packers. Xanders primary responsibilities with the Falcons are as chief contract negotiator and salary cap management. It’s likely he’d have a similar role in Denver.
Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe reports that the Falcons are looking to beef up their personnel department by adding someone into an upper-level position. Reiss reports that Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is set to interview two current members of the Baltimore Ravens personnel department: Vincent Newsome and Lionel Vital. Vital worked with Dimitroff in New England.
Newsome currently is the Raven Asst. Director of Pro Personnel, a position he’s held since 2003. Prior to that he spent seven years as a scout within the organization. He spent three years as a scout with the Cleveland Browns prior to their move to Baltimore in 1996. He is a former NFL safety, playing for the St. Louis Rams (1983-90) and Cleveland Browns (1991-92). He had 16 interceptions in 141 career games.
Vital, the Ravens national scout, has been in the Ravens organization since 2005. Prior to that he spent four years with the New England Patriots as assistant director of college scouting, working very closely with Dimitroff. In 2000, he was a scout for the Patriots. Prior to that he spent time as a scout with the New York Jets (1997-99), Ravens (1996), Cleveland Browns (1991-95), and Montreal Machine (1990-91) of the Canadian Football League. He played 3 games with the Washington Redskins in 1987 where he had 346 yards and 2 touchdowns.
ProFootballTalk also reports that Dimitroff will also interview Indianapolis Colts scout Dave Caldwell. According to the Colts website, Caldwell is listed as the team’s Western Regional Scout.
The Milwaukee Journal reports that New Orleans Saints VP of Football Administration Russ Ball is expected to be hired soon as the new chief contract negotiator of the Green Bay Packers. This news is only significant to the Falcons because it indicates that Brian Xanders, the team’s director of football administration, will not be picked by the Packers for the same role. Xanders was considered a finalist along with Ball and Samir Suleiman of the St. Louis Rams.
Xanders has been with the Falcons four fourteen seasons and has worked as the team’s chief contract negotiator for the last two. He also served on the coaching staff for five seasons (1997-01) under Dan Reeves, and has worked in football administration, involved with the salary cap and contract negotiations since. The Falcons already lost assistant general manager Billy Devaney earlier this week to the Rams.