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Of The Falcons, Jerious Norwood And Letting Go

Jerious Norwood represents something for Falcons fans. In a way, he represents what should have been but never was, and that's going to make it hard for many of us to let go of him should the Falcons choose to part ways in 2011.

Blogging Dirty opines that the team should let go, and it's probably the sensible thing to do. Norwood, once such an explosive and exciting player, has become a walking injury punchline. He got two carries and caught one ball in 2010 before going down with a season-ending injury, and on that very day, many of us proclaimed his days as a Falcon over.

It's a lame way to end one's Atlanta career.

Remember when Jerious Norwood was bottled promise? In 2006, his first season, Norwood was downright electrifying as a complement to Warrick Dunn, averaging 6.4 yards a carry on 99 carries. Not for the last time, fans openly wondered why he didn't get more carries, with the beloved but aging Dunn only averaging 4 yards a carry.

Those calls for more Norwood only intensified in 2007, when Norwood put up six yards a carry and only got slightly over 100 of 'em, despite Dunn going fully in the tank. It was fair to wonder if the Falcons were just invested in keeping Norwood fresh, or if they really thought he was ineffective, which would have been an incredibly stupid thing to think.

On his third coaching staff in 2008, Norwood still couldn't get over that hump. He had his best year as a receiver out of the backfield with 32 catches and 2 touchdowns, but he only got 95 carries and what was, by his standards, a paltry 5.1 yards per carry. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, as Norwood was ineffective much of 2009 and missed 2010.

So what happened? We may always wonder what might have been, but Occam's Razor certainly applies here. His coaches didn't believe Norwood was up to the rigors of a heavy workload, and fair or not, he ended up proving them right. What might have been doesn't really apply here, because the Falcons got three quality years out of Norwood, but never did prove to be THE ANSWER at running back. He probably never would have.

I agree it's time to cut ties. Norwood will be 28 heading into this season, but even with the age and the injury there will be teams willing to give him a shot as a change-of-pace back. The scenery shift might do him some good. Meanwhile, the Falcons should be looking to infuse the position with some fresh blood.

Who knows? They might find themselves another Jerious Norwood.