It’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s perfectly acceptable to slack off a bit at work and get completely caught up with all of these Falcons links. Keep reading for Thursday’s edition of Falcoholinks.
Andy Levitre announces retirement
It was clear that the Falcons would be moving on from Andy Levitre after their moves in free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft, but on Tuesday Andy Levitre made an announcement on his Twitter account: after 10 years in the NFL he would be retiring.
It all started as a big kid growing up in the mountains of Santa Cruz. I had a fire in my belly and a burning desire to be the best football player I could be. I was never the the most talented athlete on the… https://t.co/L838z6LskT— Andy Levitre (@LevitreAndy) May 14, 2019
Levitre joined the Atlanta Falcons just shy of the start of the 2015 season via trade with the Tennessee Titans, and spent two years as the Falcons’ starting left guard. He played admirably in that role before triceps injuries robbed him of the bulk of his final two years in an Atlanta uniform.
We wish Andy the absolute best in his retirement.
Betting on a big back
The Atlanta Falcons selected Pittsburgh running back Qadree Ollison in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, a somewhat perplexing move when the pick came in. But after a few profiles that chart Ollison’s harrowing personal story the picture became clearer: He’s a man of extremely high character, something that the Falcons place immense value on.
On the football field he’s quite a hulking dude at 6’1, 232 pounds, and with GM Thomas Dimitroff’s comments that he’s been “looking for a big back for years,” it seems Ollison struck the right balance for the Falcons with top-shelf character and playing ability that fills a need.
For that reason, Ollison already has a leg up on recent re-addition (and former fifth-round pick) Brian Hill for the third running back spot on the roster.
Post-draft roster reviews
As is custom, once the draft is complete we take a look at each positional group on the team and how its outlook once the new faces are factored in. Up this week: special teams, a phase of the Falcons’ game that’s been mired in relative mediocrity for years (with the exception of former kicker Matt Bryant, of course).
There’s been significant turnover on special teams with Matt Bryant’s departure, the dismissal of longtime coordinator Keith Armstrong, and the arrival of new coordinator Ben Kotwica. Giorgio Tavecchio becomes Matt Bryant’s heir apparent, and with a number of new additions, the Falcons have some fresh options at returner.
Catching up with Sharrod Neasman
Strong safety Sharrod Neasman rejoined the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 after spending some time with the New Orleans Saints. The Falcoholic’s Allen Strk caught up with Neasman to discuss his professional football journey, and the influence and impact of some current and former Falcons.
The two-part interview is a compelling read, as Neasman really opens up about his individual experience at the NFL level.