Falcons begin week two of training camp in Flowery Branch

Falcons now practicing in pads
General manager Terry Fontenot addressed the media and discussed his position as one of the few Black GMs in the NFL.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Now that the initial shock of long-time quarterback Matt Ryan’s absence has worn off, the focus turns to the future at Falcons’ training camp. Monday was the first day the Falcons practiced in pads. Last week, the team used protective shells to practice in contact situations. Head coach Arthur Smith ended practice early today to protect the players.

General manager Terry Fontenot addressed the media and discussed his position as one of the few Black GMs in the NFL. He says that diversity should come from the bottom first and foremost.

“Top to bottom in the building, we wanna make sure we’re giving people opportunities to develop,” Fontenot said. “The way we do that is we make sure we’re pouring into people and we have education programs in-house. The league shouldn’t have to have accelerated programs. We should be able to do that in-house with everyone.”

Fontenot is one of seven Black general managers in the NFL. The others are Martin Mayhew of the Washington Commanders, Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings, Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions, Andrew Berry of the Cleveland Browns and Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins.

He largely stepped around addressing the Falcons’ pursuit of quarterback and Gainesville, Georgia native Deshaun Watson and the indefinite suspension of Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Watson received a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and Ridley was suspended for betting on games.

“We’re always gonna focus on makeup, and we’re gonna focus on character,” Fontenot said. “We’re always gonna look into a lot of things and go through, whether we’re looking at college players, pro players, we’re gonna turn over every single stone that we can. That’s gonna be a part of the process. The character is always going to be at the forefront of that.”