Just two short days after the heartbreaking Super Bowl LI loss to the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman spoke to the media and tried to make sense of the defeat. He also shared his perspective on the city of Atlanta, and said he wants to spend his entire career with the Falcons.
Freeman made headlines during the week leading up to the Super Bowl when his agent dropped the news that he wants a new contract. Freeman said that he has his team working on the business end of things and that he isn’t concerned about it.
He said he wants to be in Atlanta “forever.”
“I want to end my career here. Like I said in the article, I love it,” Freeman said. “I love the atmosphere. I love the brotherhood. I love the people, the community I stay in, the malls, the restaurants, the food — I love everything about Atlanta. I want to be here.”
Another thing Freeman loves about Atlanta is the support the team received from Falcons fans, which was on another level this year, particularly late in the season. The excitement surrounding this team was infectious, and fans rallied behind the dynamic offense and the scrappy, ascendant defense.
Not only does Freeman want to spend the remainder of his career with the Falcons, he’s also singularly focused on bringing home a Lombardi Trophy for the city of Atlanta and for those fans.
“The energy they brought to the Dome and stuff when we played at home, and just even when we played away games, and we got a lot of support from the fans after we lost the Super Bowl, thanking us and stuff like that,” Freeman said. “So it sucks, because we — I wanted to do it for them. I want to win for myself, too, but this city deserves a Super Bowl, man.”
Now that the Falcons have been to a Super Bowl, and lost it in devastating fashion, the team has an idea of what it takes to get there. With so many young players on the roster and the brotherhood that exists between them, Freeman thinks the future is bright.
He’s also ready to get to work.
“You might not believe me, but I’m already excited about next season,” Freeman said. “I’m expecting the type of work I have to put in and stuff, so I’m looking forward to that.”
The Falcons will go into next season with a new offensive coordinator, but the existing scheme intact. Steve Sarkisian may inject some elements of his own offensive philosophy, but it will primarily remain the same.
Freeman isn’t concerned about the change.
“It don’t matter about the offense. It don’t matter who the OC is,” Freeman said. “It’s all about adjusting to the situation, to the plays.”
Obviously the loss still stings, for fans and especially for players. But Devonta said one thing doesn’t change, regardless of the loss.
“It’s always ‘rise up,’” Freeman said.