FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes Ricardo Allen signing his tender offer as well as how new running backs coach Bernie Parmalee can help Devonta Freeman bounce back.
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ESPN: Allen signs second-round tender with Falcons
Ricardo Allen signed his restricted free-agent, second-round tender with the Falcons Monday, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure.
"Coming from Pick 147 to being cut and spending a whole year on the practice squad, then next switching positions and playing something I've never played before to securing at least $3 million this year for my family,'' Allen told McClure after signing his tender offer.
A fifth-round draft pick in the 2014 draft, Allen was originally slotted to play cornerback for the Falcons but transitioned to free safety after Dan Quinn arrived in 2015. In the three seasons since making the position change, Allen has started 45 games and registered 212 tackles, 10 pass defenses and six interceptions.
AJC: Parmalee helping Freeman rebound from 'toughest' NFL season
Injuries hampered Falcons running back Devonta Freeman last season, causing a dip in production from his 2015 and 2016 seasons. Freeman has looked healthier during OTAs thus far, and he's working hard with new running backs coach Bernie Parmalee to rebound this fall.
"I feel like every coach has their own way of teaching and doing things," Freeman told Kennington Lloyd Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "What coach (Parmalee) does well is he understands the game from a player's standpoint. He knows how the body feels after Week 10 and you're banged up, but still have to go full speed."
Parmalee understands life for an NFL running back, having spent nine seasons playing the position at the highest level for the Dolphins and the Jets.
That level of experience allows Parmalee to offer a unique perspective and know first-hand what Freeman might see on Sundays.
"A lot of times as runners we want to be real physical and put their heads down," Parmalee told Lloyd Smith, "When you look at plays, there's plays where you can get skinny where you don't have to do that; so we'll watch all types of plays and see how we can protect ourselves both from a head standpoint and make sure we take care of our bodies."
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NFL.com: Earl Thomas won't go to Seahawks minicamp
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas will not attend Seattle's minicamp this week, explaining his desire for a new contract in a tweeted message on Sunday morning.
The All-Pro safety is entering the final year of his contract with the Seahawks, and he has been the subject of trade speculation this offseason. Notably, Thomas implored the Cowboys to sign him if he were to part ways with the Seahawks after a win over Dallas late last season.
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