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Ex-Falcon Thomas Howard Dies in Fatal Car Crash

November 18th, 2013 Comments off

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Howard

San Francisco’s KRON reported earlier today that ex-Atlanta Falcons linebacker Thomas Howard, 30, was killed early Monday morning in a fatal car crash. Howard was released by the Falcons last week in a roster move to clear room for Sean Weatherspoon’s return from injured reserve. Howard had been signed by the team in late October, and spent three weeks with them before being released.

Per KRON’s report, Howard was one of two victims in a high-speed crash on I-880 outside Oakland, CA that occurred shortly before 1 am PT according to the Contra Costa Times. Howard was reportedly heading northbound, driving in excess of 100 mph in his BMW when he lost control of his vehicle, struck a semi-truck and went over the center median into the southbound lanes. There he struck a Chevrolet sedan and a Honda CR-V. Both Howard and the elderly driver (conflicting reports indicate he was either 55 or 65 years old) of the Honda were killed and pronounced dead at the scene, while the 42-year old driver of the Chevrolet was transported to a local hospital to receive treatment.

Howard was a second-generation NFL player and entered the league as a second round pick with the Oakland Raiders in 2006. Howard played five seasons with the Raiders before signing with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. Hiss father, Thomas Howard Sr., played nine seasons in the NFL in the late 1970s and 80s with the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals.

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Falcons Weekly Round-Up 6/17

June 17th, 2011 Comments off
Getty Images

Ryan and White celebrate the game-winner in 2010

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)

Ex-Falcon pass rusher Bryan passes

July 26th, 2009 Comments off

Rick Bryan, a former Falcons defensive end passed on Saturday at the age of 47 from a heart attack per a report by Tulsa World. Bryan played his entire professional career with the Falcons from 1984 to 1993. He started 93 of 109 career games, and recorded 30.5 sacks, which ranks tenth all-time among Falcon players. Bryan was a 1st round pick selected by the Falcons 9th overall in 1984.

Bryan was diagnosed by team doctors with a spinal injury in 1989, but managed to play two more full seasons with the Falcons afterwards.

Bryan was a two-time All-American at Oklahoma. He leaves behind a wife, and three children, among whom his son Mike who plays linebacker currently at the University Tulsa. Earlier this year, another former Falcons defensive lineman, Shane Dronett passed as well.

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Former Falcon Dronett dies

January 21st, 2009 Comments off

Ryan S. Clark of the Beaumont Enterprise reports that former Falcon defensive lineman Shane Dronett was found dead today in his home in Duluth, GA in Gwinnett County. Per the AJC, Gwinnett police responded to a 911 call regarding suicide at 7:30 am this morning.

Dronett turned 38 just little over a week ago. He was a starting defensive tackle for the Falcons 1998 NFC Championship team. That was his best season in Atlanta, recording 34 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He joined the Falcons midway through the 1996 season and became a starter in 1998. He would spend the next four seasons as a starter with the team. He injured his shoulder at the start of 2002 and missed the entire season and was released after the season.

Dronett was originally a second round pick with the Denver Broncos in 1992. For his career, he played in 139 games, and recorded 242 tackles, 44 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles.

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Former Falcons TE Mitchell dies

October 21st, 2007 Comments off

Former Falcons tight end Jim Mitchell died on Saturday from an apparent heart attack. Mitchell turned 60 on Friday. The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reports that a friend found him unconscious on the front steps of his house on Saturday morning, he died later that day at Bedford County Medical Center.

Mitchell played 11 seasons with the Falcons between 1969 and 1979. He finished his career with 305 receptions for 4358 yards (14.3 avg) and 28 touchdowns. Those marks rank him first among tight ends on the Falcons all-time receiving lists, while fourth overall in receptions and yards. He was originally a fourth round pick out of Prairie View A&M in 1969 by the Falcons. He earned Pro Bowl bids in 1969 as a rookie and also in 1972.

Following his professional football career, he coached at Morehouse and Morris Brown Colleges. He then returned to his native Shelbyville, TN to volunteer as an assistant coach at Central High and Liberty School and organized local football camps. Mitchell suffered from diabetes-related health problems in recent years.

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