In remarks that don't bode well for his continued future in a Falcons jersey, Jason Snelling made it clear to Pro Football Talk that he would like a bigger role this upcoming season. Here's a direct quote:
"If that's possible with the Falcons and I'm able to have more influence in the offense and be able to compete for the position like I would like to," said Snelling, "then I would love to be a Falcon next year."
Snelling is a bright guy and a good teammate, so it's little surprise he worded it the way he did. You don't have to be a whiz at reading between the lines to see this for what it is, though. Snelling wants more playing time, or he's hitting the road.
The problem is, it's virtually impossible for the Falcons to give it to him. They're not going to sit Michael Turner in favor of Snelling, and they didn't draft Jacquizz Rodgers to be Lawrence Sidbury's conversation partner. If anything, Snelling's role is going to decrease.
That could spell the end of the Snell in the Falcons' corner of the NFL. That would be a shame, because I'm one of his biggest fans and think he's a valuable piece of the team. Yet I'm also under no illusions that Snelling is a special running back, and thus the Falcons cannot afford to overpay him.
All of that conspires to make it exceedingly unlikely that Snelling will return, unless free agency is entirely canceled in 2011. I'll miss him, and I do wonder how the Falcons will replace him (Gartrell Johnson?) But if Snelling wants a bigger role, he's going to have to get it somewhere else.