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An inside look into Michael Penix Jr.'s 'dream come true' first hours as an Atlanta Falcon

After Atlanta drafted Penix No. 8 overall, the Falcons welcomed the quarterback to the team facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — At its core the NFL Draft is about childhood dreams realized.

Michael Penix Jr. had the privilege of seeing his come true when he walked through the doors of the Atlanta Falcons facility less than 24 hours after the franchise drafted the quarterback No. 8 overall.

Decked in maroon, from his suit and tie down to his shoes, Penix fit into the Flowery Branch decor just fine. Penix only brought two pairs of shoes back home to Florida, where he spent the draft with his family. Luckily, these Off-White branded kicks matched perfectly.

The morning after Penix was drafted, the crew that celebrated with him the previous night joined him in traveling north to Atlanta. While general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Raheem Morris greeted Atlanta's newest quarterback in the main lobby, a Falcons jersey also welcomed him with the lettering "Penix Jr." stitched on the back.

Behind the scenes of 2024 Draft Pick Micheal Penix Jr. Carwash at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. On Friday, April 26, 2024. (Photo by Jay Bendlin/Atlanta Falcons)

Penix clutched the jersey like a prized possession as family members awed the black fabric before the moment was captured with photos. Afterward, Penix meticulously folded up the jersey. Even though the jersey read No. 1 instead of Penix's typical No. 9, it was a keepsake no one wanted to forget.

Things moved quickly from there. Like any first-round draft pick, Penix went through the works — interviews, a photoshoot, meetings, etc.

While going through the photoshoot, Penix was asked to recreate a childhood photo he included in his Player's Tribute article titled, "A Letter to NFL GMs."

Penix got a chance to pen his own story about the four season-ending injuries he sustained in college. In the letter, he made his case to NFL franchises about why those injuries only made him stronger.

Atlanta heard the message loud and clear, picking Penix to be the quarterback of the franchise's future.

He also wrote in the article about his upbringing in Dade City, Florida, and how it also strengthened him for this moment. From South Florida to Atlanta; from a kid chasing a dream to a top-10 draft pick.

Dreams became reality as Penix posed for a photo with a football in the same way he did as a kid from Dade City. That same childhood-like wonder lit up his face. This time, though, he was a man, embarking on a professional career.

Shortly after the photoshoot Penix held his first in-person press conference in front of the Atlanta local media.

When asked what the last 24 hours have felt like, Penix said simply that it's a dream come true.

"It's a dream that I've had ever since I was a little kid: to be drafted," he said.

It's now a dream realized.

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