Posted: Tuesday, November 6th 2012 at 1:50pm
Atlanta Falcons rookies visit Eagle Ranch
By Marc Eggers Staff
CHESTNUT MOUNTAIN – As politicians continue to fish for every last vote, this election day included the Atlanta Falcons (the undefeated 8-0 Falcons!!) taking a handful of young boys fishing at Eagle Ranch.
Chris Millman is the Community Relations Manager for Atlanta's NFL franchise and he says that the team is very active in giving back to the community. “Some of these kids are going through some hard times right now and this gives us a chance to kinda come over and brighten-up their day.”
Today the fourteen rookies on the active roster and practice squad have made the journey from Flowery Branch and are gathering in the gymnasium at Eagle Ranch because outside the rain is falling and the temperatures are barely over 40-degrees.
That, however, doesn't seem to dampen or cool the enthusiasm of the nearly twenty young boys running around the gym, shooting baskets, playing catch with some of the Falcons, or getting their ball caps autographed.
Millman added, “Every Tuesday throughout the season is our players day-off, and we have several events every single Tuesday for our players to go out into the community.”
“We have a wonderful relationship with the Falcons. This is very meaningful to our boys and girls, but also, I think it is equally special to them (the Falcon players), to give back to the community,” said Eagle Ranch Director and founder Eddie Staub.
After nearly an hour waiting for the weather to break the sun begins to peek through the dark, gray clouds. Several of the young boys ask if they can go fishing now.
Two Falcon rookies volunteer quickly to be the first to brave the elements and take the boys to the pond: starting center Peter Konz and long-snap center Josh Harris.
Harris is from Carrollton and played at Auburn University, including their national championship season in 2010. Konz is from Wisconsin and today's weather is nothing compared to what he grew up experiencing.
“Since the moment the rookies got (to training camp), especially the rookies, we have been doing events like this all over the state,” Konz said.
Konz, as a rookie, has earned the starting position on a very accomplished offensive line. “The community is very important to the Falcons; that's the first impression I got. We have driven two hours just to spend an hour reading to kids.”
“These kids know once we come out here that we're just people, too. And it becomes more realistic that they can succeed,” Konz added. “It kinda puts them in touch with the reality that they can better their lives.”
Suddenly the cry goes forth, “I got one! I got one!”
Everyone runs down the bank to cheer on Brandon as he pulled onto the shore a beautiful largemouth bass.
It was carefully placed on the scales before being gently returned to the white-capping waters of the pond: two-and-a-half pounds. Brandon was about to burst with pride.
“What did you catch him on?” he was asked.
Looking around carefully, not wanting to broadcast his secret bait, Brandon gestured to the brown and green striped plastic worm at the business end of his fishing pole, smiled, and quickly cast back out into the tannic-colored waters hoping to catch another.
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