FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes Julio Jones staking his claim as the best receiver from the state of Alabama as well as the Buccaneers releasing a key offensive piece.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
AL.com: Julio Jones climbs list of top receivers from state of Alabama
The state of Alabama has largely dominated college football over the past decade, but it also has a long history of placing talented wide receivers in the NFL. Some of the best receivers in the league's history have come from Alabama, including current Falcons star Julio Jones, who continues to climb rapidly up the list of receivers from the state.
In a piece on Al.com, Mark Inabinett ranks the receivers from Alabama in order of most career receiving yards, and the Falcons are well-represented near the top. First on the list is Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, who finished his career with 15,934 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns. Next on the list is longtime Falcons receiver Roddy White, who gained 10,863 yards and scored 63 touchdowns during his time in the league.
Just behind White is Jones, his former teammate and protégé. In just seven seasons, Jones has already moved to third on this list with 9,054 yards and has scored 43 touchdowns. This past season, Jones surpassed three Hall of Famers, Ozzie Newsome, Don Hutson and John Stallworth on the list, and he seemed poised to make a strong push at the No. 1 spot.
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NFL.com: Buccaneers release RB Doug Martin
It appears the Falcons won't be seeing a familiar foe quite as often, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Tuesday the release of running back Doug Martin. Martin was drafted in the first round by the Buccaneers in 2012 and fluctuated between great and below-average during his six seasons in Tampa Bay. His two high points with the Buccaneers came as a rookie in 2012, when he gained 1,926 total yards and scored 12 touchdowns, and in 2015, when he gained 1,673 total yards and scored seven touchdowns.
Outside of those two seasons, Martin never again topped 600 total yards in a single year for the Bucs, highlighting just how volatile he was as a player. In 2016, Martin was suspended four game for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy, which voided the rest of the guaranteed money owed to him by the Bucs, allowing the team to cut him with no repercussions to the salary cap.
In his career with the Buccaneers, Martin gained 5,724 total yards and scored 28 touchdowns; he was named to two Pro Bowls. Following his release, Martin tweeted out a letter to the organization and the Buccaneers fan base.
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