The NFL's trade deadline has passed, and Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley weighed in on Atlanta standing pat.
In his fourth year with the team, the former first-round draft pick tweeted that he requested to be traded by the organization both in 2019 and this year, but the team decided to retain his rights despite, as McKinley says, receiving offers.
Shortly after McKinley tweeted, interim head coach Raheem Morris spoke with the media and explained that the defensive end will face consequences for the tweet.
"Takk will definitely be held accountable for his actions, and everything that goes along with it," Morris said. "That's with missing whatever he missed today, and all the things that he has missed in the past."
McKinley, who has played only sparingly this season after injuring his groin in Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys, is in the final year of his rookie contract after the Falcons declined to pick up his fifth-year option this offseason. After showing up to training camp in noticeably better shape than in years past, McKinley said Atlanta not picking up his fifth-year option "lit a fire" in him and motivated him to improve as a player.
Prior to his injury, McKinley looked faster on the field while still maintaining the same power he's flashed throughout his career. Once injuring his groin, however, McKinley has struggled to get back on the field with regularity. McKinley has technically started four of the team's eight games this season, but he's only played 85 snaps with over half of those coming in Week 1 against Seattle.
Morris said he believed McKinley being unable to play consistently this season has led into his frustration. McKinley has just eight tackles and one sack this season, far below his goals heading into the year.
"I don't know if it's disgruntled about being on the team, I think it's just immaturity," Morris said. "And, right now, it's just an immature way to act about the situation."
That immaturity has placed McKinley's standing with the team in a precarious situation. Given the time he's missed on the field this season, time that has allowed players like Charles Harris and Steven Means to make good impressions, and the venting on social media, McKinley has left the Falcons to consider their options.
"There's always an option to suspend, and there's always an option just not to play," Morris said. "There's always an option for us to do anything we do."
Since taking over as interim head coach, Morris has led the Falcons to a 2-1 record and had them in position to win all three games with him in charge. As he's said every week, his focus is on going 1-0 each week the rest of the way.
With one more game against the Denver Broncos remaining until the team's Week 10 bye, Morris is hoping to head into the down time riding a two-game win streak – the first such streak of the season for Atlanta. Morris indicated McKinley won't be a part of the Falcons' plans against the Broncos, and the venting on social media has left the former first-rounder's status with the team for the rest of the season in question.
"The wrong way to go about it is definitely the way that Takk is handling it now and to pout," Morris said. "As soon as we get an opportunity to talk to him about those things and how he's handling that situation, that will be the first and foremost thing you handle first. And then you figure out, let's get him healthy as far as his groin. And then you figure out if he's even able to be on the team, if that's even possible at this point.
"We'll move forward, and we'll move forward swiftly, and we'll move forward accordingly. But, right now, the one thing I do know is he won't be able to help us for the Denver Broncos."