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Former Falcon Courtney Upshaw among Atlanta’s 2022 Bill Walsh training camp coaching interns

It’s a cool reunion for the team.

Atlanta Falcons v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One of my favorite things is learning what former Falcons are doing in their post-playing careers, and it’s even cooler to learn that they’re moving into coaching and trying to make their mark on the next generation of NFL players. Courtney Upshaw is one example of a player doing just that, and he’ll be at Falcons’ training camp in that capacity.

Per John Deighton with, the Falcons named five training camp interns under the Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship, and Upshaw is among them. This comes on the heels of former Falcon Harry Douglas being named as a coach during the offseason program under the fellowship earlier this year, and is part of an extremely worthwhile program that gives aspiring coaches time and experience in the NFL.

Upshaw, a former second round pick of the Ravens, enjoyed a quality NFL career. He won a Super Bowl with Baltimore and was a run-stopping force there for four seasons before joining the Falcons in 2016 and playing a key reserve role for the squad that went to the Super Bowl that year. In two seasons with Atlanta in 2016 and 2017, he made five starts, forced two fumbles and added two sacks. Now he’s back with the last team he played for this summer, making the short trip from Lawrenceville, where he’s the defensive line coach for Grayson High School.

In addition to Upshaw, the Falcons have invited former Titans offseason strength and conditioning coach Christion Abercrombie, Huntington high school assistant coach Joan Cantanese, Justin Garza high school head coach Yosef Fares, and Harvard running backs coach Sajan Thakker to training camp. As I wrote when the coaching fellows were announced in the spring, this fellowship can be a springboard to future jobs in the league, and some highly regarded coaches on Atlanta’s staff are actually former Bill Walsh coaches and interns themselves:

As the Falcons’ article by John Deighton notes, this fellowship leads to opportunities in the NFL, as nine coaches on Atlanta’s staff were fellows at one point. That includes quarterbacks coach Charles London, special teams coordinator Marquice Williams, and new running backs coach Michael Pitre. That means you’ll likely see some of the names on this year’s list popping up as coaches in the NFL down the line, which is pretty cool.

Congratulations to Upshaw, Abercrombie, Cantanese, Fares, and Thakker, and give them a warm welcome to Atlanta for the next few weeks.