Sports


Retractable roof won’t be ready when Falcons stadium opens

Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof won’t be ready for action when the Falcons open their new $1.5 billion home next month. Construction delays have thrown “mechanization” of the roof behind schedule and will force the stadium to debut with the roof closed, Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons parent company AMB Group, said Tuesday. Cannon said the organization doesn’t know...


McKinley impressive in drills

McKinley impressive in drills

Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley was one of the first players on the field for the opening practice of training camp Thursday. He went off to the side, alone, and swung his left arm in a big looping motion and then his surgically repaired right shoulder and arm. Everything felt good, and he nodded his head. He was ready to start his professional NFL career.   “I’m going...
Garland opens training camp with first-team offense

Garland opens training camp with first-team offense

When the Falcons went offense against defense in passing drills Thursday, Ben Garland was working at right guard with the first unit, and Wes Schweitzer with the second unit.  Rookie Sean Harlow, a fourth-round draft choice out of Oregon State, drew snaps with the second unit at left guard. “Ben was the one that started the whole thing off,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “Wes...
Too soon to call Dansby Swanson a bust but good chance he’s no star

Too soon to call Dansby Swanson a bust but good chance he’s no star

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson is headed back to the minors. (ccompton@ajc.com) Dansby Swanson is headed to Triple-A but that doesn’t mean he’s a bust. You can make a list of good (or going-to-be-good) major leaguers who struggled early in their careers and then went back down to the minors to work things out. Mike Trout is among them. Yet there’s an even...
Breaking down the Jackets: Defensive line

Breaking down the Jackets: Defensive line

The pressure is on Georgia Tech’s defensive ends. Coach Paul Johnson will be applying it personally. Last season, end KeShun Freeman recorded half a sack in 13 starts. End Antonio Simmons had one sack, although he did have 12 quarterback hurries. Only backup Anree Saint-Amour redeemed the group with four sacks. “We’ve got to do better in that area,” Johnson said recently at...
Video: D. Led’s early takes on first practice 

Video: D. Led’s early takes on first practice 

Here some observations from the early portion of the Falcons’ first practice on Thursday: 1. Julio Jones looked very comfortable moving around and making catches. 2. Running back Devonta Freeman needed some extra stretching from the training staff.  3. First-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley, who’s coming back from shoulder surgery, appeared powerful while working through the individual...
Falcons off and running as training camp opens

Falcons off and running as training camp opens

The Atlanta Falcons are back in the business of football, and as training camp opened Thursday morning, it was clear that fans are excited about a team that went to the Super Bowl after the 2016 season. More than 1,000 fans are at the first practice, in which players are not wearing pads. They’ll take on full armor for Saturday morning’s session. Here’s a look-in at what’s...
5 things to watch in Georgia Tech’s preseason

5 things to watch in Georgia Tech’s preseason

A highly anticipated season will get its preseason start Aug. 4, when Georgia Tech will conduct its first camp practice. Sixteen returning starters and an incoming class that appears particularly strong on defense are reasons for hope for the Yellow Jackets, who were picked to finish third in the ACC Coastal Division in a media poll and are seen as a dark-horse candidate to make it to the conference...
Jones, McKinley taking part in drills 

Jones, McKinley taking part in drills 

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Takkarist McKinley are participating in drills in the first practice of training camp Thursday. Jones, who’s coming back from offseason foot surgery, made a couple of nice catches while jumping up. He didn’t appear to be bothered on the landing. McKinley, who warmed by twirling his arm and surgically repaired shoulder, was hitting the...
Southern Fried Soccer: Gold Cup and World Cup

Southern Fried Soccer: Gold Cup and World Cup

Jordan Morris, right, scored in the 88th minute to win the Gold Cup for the United States. (Getty) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson breaks down the U.S. winning the Gold Cup, and Atlanta’s chances of hosting a game in the 2026 World Cup . [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/335068466" params="visual=true&...
Dansby Swanson is demoted to Gwinnett, and it needed to happen

Dansby Swanson is demoted to Gwinnett, and it needed to happen

The Flow is going to Triple-A. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) This needed to happen. Dansby Swanson had gone from the Face of the Franchise to the Atlanta Braves’ sixth infielder, an arc that benefited neither team nor player. At least until Johan Camargo cools or Brandon Phillips gets traded or the need to fit Sean Rodriguez in the starting lineup abates, Swanson needs to be...
Falcons to practice in pads on Saturday

Falcons to practice in pads on Saturday

The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons are set to hold their first practice Thursday. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the first padded practice -- with some live hitting -- will be held Saturday. He revealed the news during an appearance on the team’s flagship radio station, 92.9 The Game. 
D. Led’s 3 longshots to make the Falcons’ 53-man roster

D. Led’s 3 longshots to make the Falcons’ 53-man roster

A person passes a large sign that reads “Rise Up” before the ninth annual “Kia Motors Friday Night Lights” at Grayson High School, Friday, August 5, 2016, in Loganville, Ga. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL FLOWERY BRANCH – In years past I’ve had trouble picking longshots to watch. My guys would miss a meeting and be the first player to get cut. But this year...
Falcons’ Freeman underpaid but determining his value isn’t easy

Falcons’ Freeman underpaid but determining his value isn’t easy

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman reported to training camp and is in negotiations for a contract extension. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com) FLOWERY BRANCH — Devonta Freeman, who’s arguably the most underpaid player in the NFL today, made the right decision to report on time to Falcons’ training camp. It reaffirmed his intention to minimize the potential distraction...
LEADOFF: New prospect rankings are bountiful for Braves

LEADOFF: New prospect rankings are bountiful for Braves

Even as Dansby Swanson heads to Triple-A -- a reminder that the transition from prized prospect to productive big leaguer is often rocky -- the next wave of Braves prospects continues to draw acclaim.  For example:  1. One projection system, published Wednesday on FanGraphs, gives a lofty endorsement of outfielder Ronald Acuna and second baseman Ozzie Albies, both currently playing...
Tale of the tape: Garland vs. Schweitzer

Tale of the tape: Garland vs. Schweitzer

Some are waiting for McGregor vs. Mayweather, but in Falcons’ training camp, the big battle will be between Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer for the starting right guard position with the retirement of Chris Chester. The battle starts today when the Falcons take the field for the first practice at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. Height: 6-5 Weight: 308 Age: 29 College: Air Force Height: 6-5 Weight: 314...
Dansby Swanson optioned to Triple-A

Dansby Swanson optioned to Triple-A

PHOENIX – The move that once seemed so improbable is now a reality: Struggling Braves rookie Dansby Swanson has been sent to Triple-A. Swanson, batting .214 with six home runs and a .599 OPS in 95 games, was informed after the Braves’ series finale Wednesday at Arizona that he would be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves also optioned pitcher Aaron Blair to Gwinnett after he started...
Isner coasts to straight-sets win in second round of Atlanta Open

Isner coasts to straight-sets win in second round of Atlanta Open

In a stress-free match, John Isner coasted to a second-round win over Vasek Pospisel on Wednesday night at the BB&T Atlanta Open in straight sets. After a first-round bye, Isner’s win moves him into the quarterfinals at the Atlanta Open for an eighth consecutive year. He’s made it to at least the semifinals in every event. “Of course … I love coming back here,” Isner...
Outcry grows over Virginia Tech’s plan to honor Michael Vick

Outcry grows over Virginia Tech’s plan to honor Michael Vick

Public opposition is growing against the planned induction of former Falcons quarterback Michael Vick into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. The Roanoke Times reported Tuesday that two online petitions at change.org had received more than 90,000 combined signatures against the September induction. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine has also announced its opposition. The university...
Paul moves on, Young eliminated at Atlanta Open

Paul moves on, Young eliminated at Atlanta Open

Tommy Paul proved his first ATP World Tour win since 2016 was no fluke Wednesday. On Monday night at the BB&T Atlanta Open, Paul grabbed his first victory in a main draw since a win in Houston in 2016. His win in three sets over seventh-seeded Hyeon Chung provided the first big upset in singles play. Though not as big of one, Paul, who made the main draw through qualifying, once again outlasted a...
Blair gives up 5 runs early, D-backs rout Braves

Blair gives up 5 runs early, D-backs rout Braves

PHOENIX - Aaron Blair was not good in his major league season debut Wednesday, but plenty of the Braves right-hander’s teammates weren’t a lot better in a listless 10-3 loss to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field that completed a three-game series and the western two-thirds of a three-city trip. Making a fill-in start after Jaime Garcia was traded this week, Blair gave up five hits, five runs...
Freeman reports for training camp 

Freeman reports for training camp 

 Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, who’s hoping to land a contract extension with the team, reported for training camp Wednesday, according to the team.  Freeman did not report during the open media period from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., but apparently arrived later. He’s also expected to practice when the team hits the field at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. His agent, Kristen Campbell...
N. Fulton native Lorenzo Brown back in the NBA, signs with Raptors

N. Fulton native Lorenzo Brown back in the NBA, signs with Raptors

Lorenzo Brown is back in the NBA. The 26-year-old Roswell native signed a two-way contract with the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday for the 2017-18 season. Brown, who played at Centennial High School before heading to Hargrave Military Academy and then N.C. State, has been an NBA journeyman since he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2013’s second round. Since then, the 6-foot-5 guard...
Braves’ schedule about to get a bit easier

Braves’ schedule about to get a bit easier

PHOENIX – Following the most rigorous 19-game stretch of the season, the Braves’ schedule is about to get a lot easier. Unfortunately for them, so are the schedules for two of the four teams that were ahead of the Braves for the second National League wild-card spot before Wednesday. The Braves’ 10-3 loss in a series finale Wednesday against the Diamondbacks ended a 19-game stretch...
Atlanta United faces Dwyer-Larin challenge

Atlanta United faces Dwyer-Larin challenge

Atlanta United may get the first look at the next big duo in MLS when its hosts Orlando City, featuring forwards Cyle Larin and new acquisition Dom Dwyer, on Saturday. Though in a rut with only one goal in his past 11 games, Larin is still considered one of the better strikers in the league because of his size (6-foot-2, 190 pounds), age (22) and mark of 39 goals in 77 games. Now, the Lions have traded...
Southern Fried Soccer: Dom Dwyer’s Big Day

Southern Fried Soccer: Dom Dwyer’s Big Day

Dom Dwyer played for Orlando City when it was in the USL. He was traded from Sporting KC to Orlando City earlier this week. (Orlando Sentinel) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson talks to Mike Gramajo (@byMikeGramajo) about Orlando City’s acquisition of Dom Dwyer. Atlanta United will host Orlando City on Saturday. [soundcloud url="https://api...
Jones, McKinley, Gabriel limited to start camp 

Jones, McKinley, Gabriel limited to start camp 

The defending NFC champions had three major issues as they reported for training camp Wednesday. The Falcons, who will attempt to become the first losing Super Bowl team to return to the grand game since 1994, entered camp with All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones and first-round pick Takkarist McKinley set to be limited in practice.  Also, the negotiations for a contract extension for Pro Bowl...
Braves rookie Camargo has developed quickly into impressive hitter

Braves rookie Camargo has developed quickly into impressive hitter

  PHOENIX – He had a double and a homer in Friday’s 12-3 win at Dodger Stadium, had two doubles Saturday against the Dodgers, hit the third-longest Braves homer of the season in Tuesday’s 8-3 win against the Diamondbacks and … well, needless to say, things are going quite well for Braves rookie Johan Camargo. The Braves move him between three infield positions &ndash...
UGA is the first to offer 6-foot-6 lineman from N. Fulton

UGA is the first to offer 6-foot-6 lineman from N. Fulton

A YouTube highlight video calls him “the next Vince Wilfork.” Scouts must think highly of rising Milton High School sophomore Paul Tchio to liken him to Wilfork, a defensive tackle who won two Super Bowl’s with the New England Patriots. But others like Tchio are better on the offensive side of the ball. This past weekend in Athens, the University of Georgia became the first program...
Free safety Allen signs exclusive rights tender 

Free safety Allen signs exclusive rights tender 

Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen, shortly after reporting for training camp, signed his exclusive-rights free-agent tender Wednesday. Allen, who converted from cornerback to free safety, has started at the spot over the past two seasons. The Falcons also waived offensive lineman Cam Keizur. Allen successfully made the transition from cornerback to free safety. He played 1,101 defensive snaps (99...
Tennis pro John Isner learns a few tricks from the Harlem Globetrotters

Tennis pro John Isner learns a few tricks from the Harlem Globetrotters

Tennis pro John Isner took a break from the BB&T Atlanta Open to explore what might have been if he had chosen another professional sport. Read More: It’s BB&T Atlanta Open week At 6’10” Isner could have been a pro basketball player, so this week, he met up with Harlem Globetrotter star Hi-Lite Bruton at the BB&T Open in Atlantic...
Video: Duke Riley on pulling his SUV

Video: Duke Riley on pulling his SUV

Falcons linebacker Duke Riley nearly broke the internet with a video of him pulling his SUV down a street in New Orleans. After reporting for training camp, he discussed the unique workout that he’s been doing since high school. 
Q&A with rookie defensive back Damontae Kazee 

Q&A with rookie defensive back Damontae Kazee 

Falcons rookie defensive back Damontae Kazee arrived for training camp on Wednesday. Here’s what the fifth-round pick from San Diego State had to say:  A: “It’s pretty much like the same thing over and over.” A: “No, I just brought some clothes and I’m about to drink a lot of Gatorade and get after it.”  A: “Hydrate. I’m not used to this...
Video: Dimitroff, Quinn on opening of training camp

Video: Dimitroff, Quinn on opening of training camp

Falcons coach Dan Quinn gave an injury report during his opening comments and general manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t have an update on the Devonta Freeman contract situation. “We don’t have any players on PUP,” Quinn said. “We have three players that will be somewhat limited in their return to camp. Julio Jones, Tak McKinley and Taylor Gabriel. All of those guys will...
Breaking down the Jackets: Quarterback

Breaking down the Jackets: Quarterback

Georgia Tech quarterback Matthew Jordan expects to be ready for the Yellow Jackets’ first day of preseason practice Aug. 4. That’s the first order of business for Tech at that position, where Jordan is the expected successor to Justin Thomas, the best quarterback coach Paul Johnson has had in his first nine seasons. Jordan is something of a known quantity, having started one game...
Johnson happy to be back on the field with Gwinnett

Johnson happy to be back on the field with Gwinnett

Micah Johnson has found sudden success at Triple-A Gwinnett, but a return to the bigs isn’t on his mind just yet. The Dodgers traded the 26-year-old to the Braves last offseason. While he’s played sparingly in the majors since 2015, he still has some perceived upside and is a controllable utility man through 2022. But Johnson opened the season on the disabled list and was moved to the...
No update on Freeman contract situation  

No update on Freeman contract situation  

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has been optimistic about working out a contract extension for Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman, but didn’t have an update on Wednesday.   “No update,” Dimitroff said. “No update.”   Freeman’s agent, Kristen Campbell, reportedly left Atlanta without a deal being completed, according to NFL Network...
Dan Quinn, the optimist’s optimist, foresees sunny days for his Falcons

Dan Quinn, the optimist’s optimist, foresees sunny days for his Falcons

Dan Quinn, before the fall in Houston. (Curtis Compton/AJC) FLOWERY BRANCH — Contrary to outward appearance, there are things Dan Quinn does not love. On the eve of the Falcons’ training camp, the Earth’s sunniest human was asked to cite examples of stuff for which he actually has a distaste. “People who are dishonest,” he said. “That really bothers...
Ben Lammers’ summer break has been anything but

Ben Lammers’ summer break has been anything but

The expanse of his 6-foot-10 frame aside, Ben Lammers fits comfortably in Room 2132 of the Mason Building on the Georgia Tech campus, otherwise known as the Non-Destructive Evaluation Laboratory. Tech’s All-ACC center and mechanical-engineering major has spent dozens of hours there this summer, the recipient of a prized undergraduate research internship. His head encased by earphones, Lammers...
Braves’ new spring-training facility lands more tax money 

Braves’ new spring-training facility lands more tax money 

The Braves won another $4.7 million in taxpayer money Tuesday night for their planned new spring-training facility in southwest Florida.  The North Port, Fla., city commission voted 3-2 to pay that amount in sales tax money to help fund the approximately $75 million stadium complex.  The facility would be built within the North Port city limits in Sarasota County.  North Port&rsquo...
It says here that the Braves will not trade Ronald Acuna for Sonny Gray

It says here that the Braves will not trade Ronald Acuna for Sonny Gray

Ronald Acuna, bubbling up fast. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) About the Atlanta Braves and trades, we should know never to say never. About the possibility that they might include Ronald Acuna in a deal for Oakland’s Sonny Gray, I’ll eliminate all wiggle room and say … Never. #Braves have remained involved in Sonny Gray sweepstakes, source confirms ...
COVER 9@9: Falcons ready to move past Super Bowl debacle

COVER 9@9: Falcons ready to move past Super Bowl debacle

January 31, 2017, Houston: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff answers a question speaking with a reporter behind the scenes during media availability of the team on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Memorial City Mall ice arena in Houston. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons...
A little housecleaning before Falcons open training camp

A little housecleaning before Falcons open training camp

A scene to be scrubbed from memory as Falcons training camp opens: Matt Ryan walks off the field in Houston after the stunning 34-28 Super Bowl loss to New England. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images) So, I’m cleaning out the laptop and what should reappear but the rough draft of the lead story I was working on the night of Feb. 5, with the Falcons leading New England 28-3...
LEADOFF: Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens one month from today (all but the roof)

LEADOFF: Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens one month from today (all but the roof)

Exactly one month from today, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open -- all except the roof, that is. A marathon project in the works for a decade, and under construction for almost 3 ½ years, is now on the final sprint to opening day. “The first meetings I remember having about it were in late 2007, early ’08, with Mayor Franklin and Gov. Perdue,” Falcons president and CEO Rich...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday

5 things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday

Here are five things to know about the Falcons on Wednesday: 1. Report date. The defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons report for training camp today. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn will address the media at 11:30 a.m. Players are schedule to report at 12 noon.  (Check back later for updates)  2. The roof won’t be open. Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable...
Countdown to Camp: Day 1 – Did the Falcons protect the Brotherhood?

Countdown to Camp: Day 1 – Did the Falcons protect the Brotherhood?

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has Gatorade dumped on him by his team late in the game against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Each day leading up to the start of training camp, we’ll look at a major issue that faces the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn as...
Suzuki’s two homers help Braves win 9th straight Foltynewicz start

Suzuki’s two homers help Braves win 9th straight Foltynewicz start

PHOENIX – For 10 weeks the Braves have been a good bet to win whenever Mike Foltynewicz has pitched. And lately, if you add catcher Kurt Suzuki to that equation it’s been almost a guaranteed positive outcome for the Atlanta squad. Suzuki had his second two-homer game in July and Foltynewicz won his sixth consecutive decision over nine starts Tuesday night when the Braves scored six runs...
Dream overcome 18-point first-half deficit, beat Mercury 99-91 in OT

Dream overcome 18-point first-half deficit, beat Mercury 99-91 in OT

In a historical game from Layshia Clarendon, the Atlanta Dream took down the Phoenix Mercury 99-91 in overtime on Tuesday. The Mercury completely controlled the first half, but Atlanta used the help of its hometown fans in a momentous third period that brought it all the way back from an 18-point deficit. “I told them at the half, we’ve got to limit their 3-point attempts, we’ve...
Blair to start Wednesday; Sims, Medlen are options going forward

Blair to start Wednesday; Sims, Medlen are options going forward

PHOENIX – The Braves have recalled Aaron Blair from Triple-A to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks, manager Brian Snitker confirmed late Tuesday after Atlanta’s 8-3 win at Chase Field. It would have been Jaime Garcia’s rotation turn Wednesday but the left-hander was traded Monday to the Twins. Blair was flown to Los Angeles last week to take Garcia&rsquo...
Digi-blog goes to Falcons’ $1.5 billion potentially retractable roof stadium

Digi-blog goes to Falcons’ $1.5 billion potentially retractable roof stadium

  This is the room that houses the controls for the hypothetically retractable roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which may work some time in 2017. (Jeff Schultz/jschultz@ajc.com) The chief of communications for Falcons owner Arthur Blank emerged from the room, closed the door behind him and delivered the verdict. “You can’t go in there,” Brett Jewkes...
Christopher Eubanks shines on Atlanta Open’s College Night

Christopher Eubanks shines on Atlanta Open’s College Night

Christopher Eubanks is becoming a BB&T Atlanta Open staple. Highlighting “College Night,” Eubanks defeated Californian Taylor Fritz 7-6, 6-4. “It was incredible,” he said. “I can’t really put it into words. Being able to play in the tournament in my hometown is already hard to put into words, but to come out with a win is just, in front of the crowd, it was electric...
Isner tries to rebound after last year’s Atlanta Open upset

Isner tries to rebound after last year’s Atlanta Open upset

John Isner is looking to reclaim his throne atop the BB&T Atlanta Open this week. Isner returns to the event he’s won a tournament-best three times. He’s the No. 2 seed behind fellow American Jack Sock. “It’s great to be back,” Isner said. “Of course, (I have) a lot of very good memories here in Atlanta. I’ve played well here in this tournament’s seven-year...
5 position battles to watch in training camp

5 position battles to watch in training camp

The defending NFC champion Falcons report for duty Wednesday. The Falcons, who are eager to put the crushing 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI behind them, will hold their first practice Thursday.  “I feel that we have a really good communicative understanding about what we are looking for, from this football team,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff...
Falcons good enough to avoid breakdowns, make title run again

Falcons good enough to avoid breakdowns, make title run again

Coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have made a strong team in the Falcons’ front office and there’s no reason to believe the team can’t make it back to the Super Bowl. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com) Sports executives are not unfamiliar with being thrown under a bus, but it was a departure for Thomas Dimitroff last week when he found...
Video: Tour new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with D. Led

Video: Tour new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with D. Led

Take a tour of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium with beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter (who got kicked out of the coaches’ lounge) on Tuesday. There’s also a picture of the open roof, which apparently, will not be open for some of the early games. Enjoy. 
How much should the Falcons pay Freeman?

How much should the Falcons pay Freeman?

December 18, 2016, ATLANTA: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman spikes the ball scoring his second of three touchdowns for a 28-7 lead over the 49ers during the second quarter in an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com FLOWERY BRANCH — Let’s play general manager. How much should the Falcons pay running back...
Behold! Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Behold! Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The good people with Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons (yes, I put United before the Falcons), gave us good and wise media folks a tour of $1.5 billion stadium on Tuesday. There’s no truth that, like a car, the stadium devalued as soon as it was used, though it may get knocked down a hunny thou or so just because of the quality of the tour’s clientele. Anyway...
Breaking down the Jackets: B-back

Breaking down the Jackets: B-back

Of the various reasons that Georgia Tech has to be optimistic about the 2017 season, the B-back position is high on the list. As a freshman in 2016, Dedrick Mills won the job in the preseason and, at least on the field, was everything that coach Paul Johnson could have wanted. Mills ran the ball low to the ground with tackle-breaking power. He was a relentless force near the goal line. He excelled...
Falcons won’t be able to open stadium roof for first games

Falcons won’t be able to open stadium roof for first games

The retractable roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be in the closed position when the new Falcons stadium debuts next month and for an undetermined period of time beyond that, the CEO of Falcons parent company AMB Group said today. Steve Cannon said construction delays have the project behind schedule on fully mechanizing the roof. Therefore, he said the roof will be closed when the stadium opens...
Here’s why the Braves traded Jaime Garcia – asset acquisition

Here’s why the Braves traded Jaime Garcia – asset acquisition

Jaime Garcia, grand slammer. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) Maybe you read the particulars of Monday’s trade and thought, “Total dud.” The Atlanta Braves traded a member of their big-league rotation and a catcher who’d played a little in the majors for a prospect not listed among Minnesota’s top 20. I understand that reaction: Fans like to think their team won a trade...
Year 2 effect: Why Kirby Smart hopes history repeats itself

Year 2 effect: Why Kirby Smart hopes history repeats itself

Athens - As former Georgia quarterback David Greene remembers it, Mark Richt’s first season as Georgia’s coach in 2001 was marked by players and coaches still trying to figure each other out, players trying to learn a new system, and people being mentally and physically exhausted well before the season was over. Then came Year 2: a five-win improvement, an SEC championship, a Sugar...
Southern Fried Soccer: Who is atop my MLS Power Poll?

Southern Fried Soccer: Who is atop my MLS Power Poll?

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan, right, makes a save on a shot by Orlando City’s Jonathan Spector (2) at Orlando City Stadium on Friday, July 21, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson recaps his weekly Power Poll in today’s edition of the podcast, Southern Fried Soccer. [soundcloud...
Video: Check out the Falcons locker room inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Video: Check out the Falcons locker room inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Atlanta Falcons new locker room is impressive. In a video posted on the Falcons’ Twitter account on Tuesday morning, fans are taken on a tour of the new locker room inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium which is a major upgrade from where the Dirty Birds spent the last several seasons. The Falcons will break in their new locker room on Aug. 26 when they play the Arizona Cardinals in the third...
Countdown to Camp: Day 2 – What makes Julio Jones so great?

Countdown to Camp: Day 2 – What makes Julio Jones so great?

Here’s Falcons receiver Julio Jones’ spectacular catch that nearly saved the Falcons from their Super Bowl collapse. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Each day leading up to the start of training camp, we’ll look at a major issue that faces the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn as he’s set to enter his third season with the team. FLOWERY BRANCH &mdash...
Dickey exits early, D’backs roll to 10-2 rout of Braves

Dickey exits early, D’backs roll to 10-2 rout of Braves

PHOENIX – After R.A. Dickey gave up four runs without making it out of the fourth inning in the knuckleballer’s shortest outing this season, Sean Rodriguez gave the Braves a chance in the fifth with a long two-run pinch-hit homer to cut Arizona’s lead in half. But their comeback hopes evaporated in a barrage of extra-base hits off Matt Wisler to start Arizona’s sixth inning...
Must-see: Freddie Freeman’s line-drive snag

Must-see: Freddie Freeman’s line-drive snag

Freddie Freeman made his 11th start at third base (since transitioning from first on July 4) Monday in Arizona. Freeman’s defensive prowess at first was well known. At third, it’s getting there. In the bottom of the fourth, the Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock stepped up to the plate with 2 outs and a man on first. Pollock slapped R.A. Dickey’s fifth pitch -- an 83-mph fastball --...
Tommy Paul upsets Hyeon Chung at BB&T Atlanta Open

Tommy Paul upsets Hyeon Chung at BB&T Atlanta Open

For those who waited out the thunderstorms, Tommy Paul delivered an exciting match to the fans Monday night. Some three hours after it expected to be finished, Paul beat seventh-seeded Hyeon Chung in three sets in the first day of the BB&T Atlanta Open. As the underdog playing in his home country, Paul got the most support from the crowd of any player on Monday and received a huge standing ovation...
Inciarte gets a rest for just 2nd time in 98 games

Inciarte gets a rest for just 2nd time in 98 games

PHOENIX – And on the 98th day, Ender Inciarte got a rest.  For only the second time all season, the Braves’ All-Star center fielder was out of the lineup Monday. Manager Brian Snitker said it was only coincidence that it came in the series opener against Inciarte’s original team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. “I just kind of feel like he needs a day (off),” Snitker said...
Weather knocks back opening round of BB&T Atlanta Open late into night

Weather knocks back opening round of BB&T Atlanta Open late into night

After a brief delay during the opening matches starting at noon, a big storm knocked the BB&T Atlanta Open schedule back a couple hours before any singles matches got under way Monday night. Opening tournament play on the Stadium Court were Purav Raja and Divij Sharan competing in doubles against Treat Huey and Robert Lindstedt. The first weather delay of the day came early in the match but Raja and...
Braves wouldn’t have traded Garcia if playoff spot were realistic

Braves wouldn’t have traded Garcia if playoff spot were realistic

The Braves traded starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to the Minnesota Twins Monday. (AP photo) If the dark underworld of social media is any indication, Braves fans are not happy about the trade that sent starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to the Minnesota Twins for an obscure young pitcher with the most confusing name in the history of the world (Huascar Ynoa. I copy/pasted from the...
7 things to know about Mercedes-Benz Stadium

7 things to know about Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Nearly every aspect of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a massive project birthed in early 2010, has commanded Atlanta’s attention for years. And with the inaugural football game scheduled for Aug. 26, excited fans won’t have to wait much longer to experience it for themselves. Meanwhile, here are seven things you should know about the city’s new shiny, monstrous...
5 bold predictions for the Falcons offense 

5 bold predictions for the Falcons offense 

After reaching Super Bowl LI, the Falcons’ offense will be expected to remain near the top of the league in 2017. “Our focus is not on the past,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said on Monday. “It’s on moving forward and I know that’s a cliché.” The Falcons report for training camp on Wednesday, with the first practice scheduled for Thursday...
Georgia Tech sets preseason schedule

Georgia Tech sets preseason schedule

Georgia Tech released the entirety of its pre-ACC schedule Monday, a 12-game slate that includes four games against power-conference opponents. That includes rival Georgia (in Athens Dec. 19) and the Yellow Jackets’ season opener in Shanghai against UCLA Nov. 11. The two other power-conference teams that the Jackets will face in coach Josh Pastner’s second season are Tennessee (Dec. 3...
Braves trade Garcia, Recker to Twins for pitching prospect

Braves trade Garcia, Recker to Twins for pitching prospect

PHOENIX – The Braves traded pitcher Jaime Garcia to the Twins on Monday, sending the left-hander along with catcher Anthony Recker and a small amount of cash to Minnesota in exchange for 19-year-old pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa. Ranked as a top-25 prospect in the Twins organization, the hard-throwing Ynoa is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-hander who went 0-1 with a 5.26 ERA in six rookie-ball...
Julio Jones set to return to action

Julio Jones set to return to action

Falcons two-time All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s recovering from offseason foot surgery, is set to return to the field during training camp.  The Falcons report on Wednesday and the first practice is Thursday. Jones will likely be limited.   “He’s healed up very, very well,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We are ready for him to...
Falcons remain optimistic about reaching new deal with Freeman

Falcons remain optimistic about reaching new deal with Freeman

Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff remains optimistic that the team can reach an amicable contract extension with Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman.  “Devonta, right now, we’ve had some good conversations over the offseason,” Dimitroff said on Monday at a community service appearance at East Lake YMCA. “I’ve talked to him on the field a number of times....
Dwight Freeney appears to be only last-resort option for Falcons

Dwight Freeney appears to be only last-resort option for Falcons

The Falcons may have more talent and depth on the defensive line depth chart than any team since at least the 2004 season (the Patrick Kerney/Rod Coleman-led front) or possibly 1998 (the Super Bowl team in which four starting linemen — Chuck Smith, Lester Archambeau, Travis Hall and Shane Dronett — combined for 29.5 sacks).       ...
Falcons hope McKinley’s ready for third exhibition game

Falcons hope McKinley’s ready for third exhibition game

Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who’s recovering from shoulder surgery, will be “limited” at the start of training camp, according to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Falcons are hoping that McKinley, who was selected with the 26th overall pick in the draft, will be ready to play in the third or fourth exhibition game. “We don’t have the exact date...
Asking yet again: Should the Braves trade Julio Teheran?

Asking yet again: Should the Braves trade Julio Teheran?

Julio Teheran after another home run. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang) Baseball-Reference’s home page for the 2017 Atlanta Braves includes the photos of the team’s 12 most valuable players as rated by B-Ref WAR. Not pictured: Julio Teheran. Of the five pitchers taking turns in the Braves’ rotation, their Opening Day starter has been – again by...
Falcons are making push to get Freeman deal done

Falcons are making push to get Freeman deal done

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff speaks during a press conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff plans to work “full time” on getting a contract extension done with Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman. He wouldn’t rule out having...
Video: Dimitroff discusses Devonta Freeman negotiations

Video: Dimitroff discusses Devonta Freeman negotiations

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals to tie the game 7-7 during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com) Here’s the training camp schedule: Wednesday, July 26th — Team Reports for Camp Thursday, July 27th — Practice: 9:30 a.m. &ndash...
A buyer for the Braves? Without Kershaw, LA might need J. Garcia

A buyer for the Braves? Without Kershaw, LA might need J. Garcia

A medical conference. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo) A good thing might have happened to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. Clayton Kershaw, who’d started against them, left after two innings with tightness in his back. The good thing wasn’t that the Braves went on to beat the Dodgers — they didn’t, though they did forge a tie againstKenley Jansen, who hadn&rsquo...
Countdown to Camp: Day 3 – What will MVP Matt Ryan do for an encore?

Countdown to Camp: Day 3 – What will MVP Matt Ryan do for an encore?

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan after OTAs on Thursday, June 1 2017. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) Each day leading up to the start of training camp, we’ll look at a major issue that faces the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn as he’s set to enter his third season with the team. FLOWERY BRANCH — Quarterback Matt Ryan, the first NFL most valuable player...
Venus Williams returns to Atlanta, edges Bouchard in exhibition

Venus Williams returns to Atlanta, edges Bouchard in exhibition

The first women’s match in BB&T Atlanta Open history featured one of the most well-renown names in sports. Venus Williams, 37, faced Genie Bouchard, 23, in an exhibition match on Sunday at Atlantic Station, kicking off the week-long men’s event. Williams won the match, 6-4, 7-6. The second set went into a tie-breaker (7-4). It was Williams’ first match in Atlanta since a 2004 exhibition...
Braves tie on Adams’ 3-run HR in 9th, but lose to Dodgers in 10th

Braves tie on Adams’ 3-run HR in 9th, but lose to Dodgers in 10th

LOS ANGELES –The Braves shocked the Dodgers and closer Kenley Jansen with a three-run ninth inning Sunday capped by Matt Adams’ two-out homer that erased a 4-1 deficit and sent the game to extra innings at Dodger Stadium. But the Dodgers have the best record in the majors for a reason, and they won 5-4 on Logan Forsythe’s bases-loaded walk-off single in the 10th inning against Jim...
Kershaw faces Braves only 2 innings, leaves with back tightness

Kershaw faces Braves only 2 innings, leaves with back tightness

LOS ANGELES— The Braves didn’t have to face Clayton Kershaw for long Sunday after the Dodgers ace left the series finale against Atlanta following the top of the second inning with right low-back tightness. After Kershaw bounced a breaking ball to Tyler Flowers on a 2-0 pitch with two outs in the second inning, the left-hander threw a fastball on the next pitch for a called strike, then...
5 bold predictions for the Falcons defense 

5 bold predictions for the Falcons defense 

New leadership could push the Falcons defense up in the overall rankings in 2017. The Falcons, who report for training camp on Wednesday, will return 10 of the 11 players who started in Super Bowl LI, but will be under the direction of new defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel. Manuel is moving over from defensive backs coach and will replace Richard Smith. Also, Bryant Young was hired to replace...
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