By Kelsey Conway
You might know him as the Falcons wideout who is practically automatic on third down for Matt Ryan or the receiver who can go under center and run the wildcat – also known as the “12 gauge” or “wild bean.” Or, maybe, you simply know him because he has one of the most electric personalities on the Falcons’ roster.
Regardless of what comes to mind when you think of Mohamed Sanu, the eighth-year receiver has become a fan-favorite during his three seasons in Atlanta.
Here’s a rare glimpse at what day in the life during minicamp for Sanu looks like from start to finish:
Sanu pulls out of his garage in his Lamborghini with Wiz Khalifa’s hit “Blue Hunnids” off the Rolling Papers 2 album blasting out of his speaker as he begins his daily 43-mile commute from his home in northwest Atlanta to the Falcons’ practice facilities in Flowery Branch.
Arrives in at Falcons headquarters, parks in the players lot and embarks on Day 2 of the team’s three-day minicamp.
Sanu heads to the cafeteria to eat breakfast where he joined his teammate and fellow wide receiver, Christian Blake, at a table. His first meal of the day consists of the following: a shot of ginger, a breakfast sandwich made up of eggs, chicken sausage, cheese on potato toast.
Weight room time. “Skill” players – receivers, running backs and quaterbacks – lift first before meeting. The “bigs” – which is who you’d expect, the linemen – follow.
Sanu and Calvin Ridley head to the wide receivers room for a meeting with their position coach and assistant head coach Raheem Morris. As Sanu and Ridley enter the receivers’ room, Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement” is blaring. They review film from Tuesday’s practice until 9:40 a.m. Afterwards they’re off to another meeting – this one with the entire team.
Sanu and Julio Jones stand in the doorway of the team meeting room to greet everyone heading into the meeting with fist bumps. Dan Quinn addresses a packed room. Sanu sits in the same seat for every team meeting – right next to Grady Jarrett on his right and Morris on his left.
Quinn begins the team meeting with a slide that shows the statistics from practice the day before: Turnovers and penalties were points of emphasis. The next slide showed the scoreboard of who won between the offense and defense.
For the remainder of the meeting, Quinn showed highlights of plays he liked from Tuesday. For each clip showed, there was a message Quinn wanted to portray to the group. For example, Quinn showed a play in which one of his defensive players was called for holding with under two minutes to go. The play ended up being incomplete, but Quinn wanted to show how costly the penalty would be in a game if the pass was caught.
Quinn then showed examples of plays he liked where Ridley and Devonta Freeman showed the type of ball protection he wants. He also pointed to an example on the defensive side of the ball where Damontae Kazee made a play to try and make a play on the ball to create a turnover opportunity.
To wrap up the team meeting, Quinn showed the schedule for the rest of the day, including the cadence of practice.
The offensive players stay put in the team meeting room for meetings led by offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Today’s order of business is installing plays and going over key situations in games.
After the meeting Sanu takes advantage of a few minutes of down time to rest before a team walk-through.
Sanu heads to the indoor practice facility for team walk-through for the next 20 minutes where the players practice what they just learned in the meetings ahead of practice.
Sanu and wide receiver Justin Hardy have a routine established. When the walk-through is complete, they sprint up the hill back to the cafeteria on the way to the locker room. Sanu always grabs a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich that is waiting for him and brings it back to the locker room to start getting ready for practice.
Practice begins. During the special teams portion of practice to start, Sanu, Ridley, Hardy and Devonta Freeman head to the middle of the field to get extra work with Matt Ryan.
Sanu is at the front of each line as practice goes on, leading the way. The 29-year-old receiver who is entering his eighth NFL season was given limited reps due to the attention the coaching staff wants to give the younger players on the team. Whenever Sanu wasn’t on the field running routes and hauling in passes, he was spotted standing next to Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
As practice ends, Sanu heads over to a large hill behind the practice fields where hundreds of season ticket members gathered to watch practice.
Sanu signed autographs and took pictures with the fans from all over.
After Sanu is done signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans, he heads over to the family section where head coach Dan Quinn took a few moments to visit with Sanu's son, Mohamed Jr.
Sanu also stopped to visit with his girlfriend, Danielle Lee, who sat with Mohamed Jr. in the family section during practice.
Sanu attends a mandatory NFL security meeting.
With practice and all of the meetings over, Sanu’s work is done for the day and it’s time to go home. Sanu keeps with the Whiz Khalifa theme on the drive home, telling Wiz to “talk to me” as he turns up the volume.
Sanu pulls into his driveway and walks up to the front door of his home where Mohamed Jr. was already waiting. He heard his father pulling in.
Just because Sanu was done with his job for the day doesn’t mean he would stop playing sports for the day. Mohamed Jr. begs his father to play some basketball and that’s what the two end up doing until “he gets tired” and ready for bed.
After Mohamed Jr. goes to sleep, Sanu winds down to end his night as he gets ready to do it all again on the final day of minicamp. When the wide receiver finishes practice on Thursday, he'll get a break before the start of training camp on July 22. As for Sanu's summer plans? He'll enjoy traveling to spend time with his family and friends.