The Falcons are officially back as 2014 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp began Friday. Fans gathered on the hill to watch their favorite players practice.
The 2014 XFINITY® Atlanta Falcons Training Camp has begun and the fans have arrived with it, excited to see the players compete for a spot on the 53-man roster and hopeful for a glimpse, and maybe an autograph, of their favorite player. Whether they are a diehard Falcons fan following players from their Alma Mater or it is their first time at training camp, fans lined up hours before the 2:30 p.m. gate opening at Flowery Branch.
Richard Pillsbury, a 20-year-old Atlanta native, received a football signed by Paul Worrilow for being the first person in line. A lifelong Falcons fan, he is looking forward to what the new coaches and players are going to bring to the team this year.
Sitting behind Pillsbury, Travis Hurd, Will Hurd, and Brad Brown made the hour-and-a-half trek from Calhoun, Ga. to be here for the first open practice.
"I'm excited just to get to see some football finally. We've been waiting a long time it seems," Brown said.
He isn't the only one.
Sixteen-year-old Jordan Bischoff held a sign that read "This is Dirty Bird Country" with signatures from past and current players surrounding the bold letters. Jordan's dad, Jay Bischoff, explained the sign started two years ago at the Friday Night Lights game, which is around the same time his daughter really got into the team. Since then, the sign has been to exhibition games, season games, another Friday Night Lights game, six to eight training camp sessions, and two player signings.
"It was appreciated by William Moore last year at the Friday Night Lights game," Bischoff said. "He was very impressed with the sign and signed it a second time."
The Bischoff's were not the only ones with autographs. Brandon Keeler was sitting with his fiancé, Cassie Gee, and proudly displayed a Falcons football helmet autographed by head coach Mike Smith.
A Falcons fan since 1993, Keeler has been coming to the opening day of training camp since 2005. That was also the time he purchased a football and set a goal to have it signed by Falcons players to the point where there is no longer any room for another signature.
Not only is Keeler excited to fill up his football and helmet with signatures, he's excited to see what the team has to offer this year, especially the defense.
"Pat Angerer is going to be a really good player. I think he'll teach (Paul) Worrilow a lot more than what he already knows, and he already came in really well last year," Keeler said.