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Longtime Falcons scouting executive Phil Emery retires; Anthony Robinson, Rob Kisiel move on to other organizations

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Senior personnel executive Phil Emery is stepping away from the game of football after so many years in the thick of it. He spent decades as an NFL scout and GM, including significant time with the Falcons. He was their director of scouting from 2004-08, heavily involved in a stretch where the team drafted Matt Ryan and Roddy White. He spent some time in Kansas City before becoming Bears GM from 2012-14, after which he returned to Atlanta in an executive role starting in 2016.

After all those years of service to Atlanta and football at large, Emery has decided to retire. The Falcons made the announcement on Friday.


Emery one of three Falcons front office staffers who moved on to other things this offseason.

Director of college scouting Anthony Robinson was recently named Tennessee assistant general manager, a position that will oversee the Titans pro and college scouting efforts. Joining Ran Carthon is a promotion and a reunion of sorts, considering the Titans GM and Robinson worked together as Falcons scouts.

Senior pro scout Rob Kisiel also took the next step in his career as assistant director of player personnel earlier in the offseason.

Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot is relatively new to his post, and he's thankful to have Emery's experienced voice in the meeting rooms.

"It's not just the fact you have that knowledge; it's the willingness to share it," Fontenot said. "That was a great thing about Phil. He was great in the room and is passionate about the game and its details. To hear him talk about a player was so valuable. He was open and willing to share his experience, whether something went well, or it didn't. The wisdom and openness was so huge for us. He and I had never worked together before I got here, but he was so open to helping us. That was so special. He's has impacted so many during his career, and he'll undoubtedly have a lasting effect on us."

Robinson will, too.

He began his career in the league as a scouting assistant in Atlanta for three seasons. Every few years, Robinson moved up the organizational ladder, being elevated to the Falcons southeast area scout and later became the team's eastern regional scout in 2016.

After a few years as the Falcons director of college scouting, the organization parted ways with then-head coach and general manager Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff. Fontenot kept Robinson on in his role, still overseeing the Falcons college scouting machine until the Titans hired him in an elevated role as assistant GM.

"He was the ultimate professional from the first day I got here," Fontenot said. "It's hard when you're working under a new regime. With a new GM and new head coach, that can be a tough spot to be in. For him, it wasn't. There was never a question in regard to loyalty. He was going to everything he could for this organization. You knew that right away. He helped me so much, early on and throughout. He's one of the most trustworthy people. You always knew where he stood.

"When guys want to know how to move up in this business, I say that you stay focused and do every aspect of your job well. A-Rob did all of that. He's a great teammate who is always willing to help other people. …You root for people like that. You root for A-Robs. You want him to continue to do well, and he will because of the mindset he has."

Kisiel worked the past two seasons with the Falcons, following years working up the ladder within Houston's organization. He and Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort worked together as Texans, and now they come together again with Kisiel in an elevated role. Fontenot was thankful for his time with Kisiel due to his scouting smarts and his commitment to improving the organization.

"I really appreciate Monti and the Arizona organization because they handled it so well. I have a lot of respect for them and how they did that," Fontenot said. "Regarding Rob Kisiel, what sticks out about him is that he's one of the more intelligent people in the business and that he's committed to development. That was a big deal for him. He really liked to teach people in the building. Younger scouts who wanted to learn, Rob was always willing to work with them."

Staff writer Tori McElhaney contributed to this report.

Take a closer look at the newest member of the 7 club, Bijan Robinson! Robinson was a first round draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2023 NFL Draft and will wear the number 7 jersey.

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