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Duron Harmon paying it forward as mentor to Richie Grant

Veteran safety helping rookie Grant prepare for Falcons scheme, NFL life

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Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant #27 laughs with strong safety Duron Harmon #21 during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Thursday August 5, 2021. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Atlanta Falcons)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons players stay in dormitories on team's training facility campus during camp so they can remain immersed in the preparation process.

While position groups are often clustered together, Duron Harmon is staying in a room right next to Richie Grant.

Coincidence? Certainly not.

The Falcons surely wanted to put their second-round NFL Draft pick next to an established veteran with three Super Bowl rings over this prolonged stretch, with fingers crossed Harmon's knowledge would get passed down.

That's happening every day during Falcons AT&T Training Camp. Grant is soaking up Harmon's wisdom, with regular film study appointments and technical lesson after formal practices end.

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Grant has been a sponge, hoping to pick up tricks from a master tradesman.

"He's a young kid who wants to learn," Harmons said Friday afternoon. "Every day after practice, he's right with me; we're working on stuff. He wants to get better. He's always around asking questions. It's great that we were dorm-ing together so, right before curfew, we're going through the walk-throughs. We're going through our plays. He wants to get comfortable and play his best football.

"The sky's the limit for Richie, and I'm just excited that I can be a part of his journey."

Harmon's lesson plan includes more than schematic and technical talk. He's also teaching Grant about NFL life and "how I got to the spot where I'm at."

Harmon's entering his ninth NFL season, with lasting power based on talent, smarts and his commitment to working the right way. He learned that from established veterans when he was in New England.

Now it's time to pay if forward.

"The first thing is preparation," Harmon said. "He already goes over the walk-through with Coach, but we're going over it again. I'm telling him what I'm thinking, so when the set lines up he knows where to look. I had to learn that, too, and I had Devin McCourty teaching me.

"The other thing is just work. It's about staying after practice every day and getting better, especially with things he didn't particularly like what he did. He's always trying to improve. As long as he keeps that attitude and approach, he'll be as good as he wants to be."

Harmon isn't young anymore. The 30-year old is entering a new and different stage of his career, one he welcomes more than you might expect.

"It's different, but I think last year prepared me for it, being in that situation," Harmon said. "That's a part of life. You go through certain things to appreciate other things. I'm happy where I'm at. I'm happy to be the old guy in the room. It's fricking nuts, but I'm appreciating it more. There was an old guy in the room to help me to help me get to where I am right now. I won't forget that."

The coaches and staff wore green shirts to support the Novelis Rise Up & Recycle initiative on Day 7 of 2021 AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London #5 during team practice at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

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