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Grady Jarrett excited to get hands-on with DT rookies at training camp

There isn't anyone better than Grady Jarrett for the Falcons' rookie defensive tackles to learn from during training camp. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — There is no one on the defensive side of the ball who screams Atlanta Falcons more than Grady Jarrett.

Not literally. Figuratively.

The defensive tackle was drafted by the Falcons in 2015 and has been a staple in Atlanta ever since. In fact, prior to his injury last season, Jarrett had only ever missed three games in 135 appearances. That experience, coupled with a top-tier work ethic, makes him the best mentor for this year's rookie linemen — Ruke Orhorhoro, Brandon Dorlus and Zion Logue — who likely want the same success in their careers.

"I'm excited to work with these guys, man," Jarrett said. "I think they got a lot of talent (and) a lot of skill. There's a reason why I think they brought them here."

Orhorhoro was the Falcons' second-round draft pick. Dorlus went in the fourth round. Logue was a sixth-rounder. They're all defensive tackles, like Jarrett, who, himself, was a fifth-rounder.

While the newcomers completed the Falcons' offseason program this spring, Jarrett worked behind the scenes. He's still recovering from his torn ACL but on track to rejoin practice come training camp in late July.

Nevertheless, Jarrett still found ways to impact the team this offseason while undergoing his own individual rehabilitation.

"His biggest contribution right now is in the meeting room," defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said during mandatory minicamp. "I think when we're out there on the field, we're trying to get everybody to play at a certain standard, and he knows what that standard is."

It was admittedly tough for the two-time Pro Bowler during the offseason, though. Jarrett said he's more of a lead-by-example person. Because of that, he didn't think he was able to give his teammates his all since he couldn't demonstrate the right way to do certain things. He had to rely on verbal instructions.

That should change in a month's time.

"Being back on the field and spending time with them on the field is probably going to be the best way to try to lead them in the right direction," Jarrett said.

Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett #97 and Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman David Onyemata #90 run drills during AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp at Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. on Thursday, July 27, 2023. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

The rookies can't wait, either.

Orhorhoro has been especially vocal in his appreciation of Jarrett, which isn't surprising given they're both Clemson products. Orhorhoro has been hearing Jarrett stories for years now. The suspense has sufficiently been built.

"I'm just excited to learn from a guy that's been in the league for 10 years," Orhorhoro said. "I'm real eager."

Dorlus echoed Orhorhoro's overall sentiments and included interest in another veteran tackle, David Onyemata.

"I want to check out their work regimen — how hard they go in practice; off the field, how they watch film, how they break down their opponents, how they survived in the league so long and how to be a success this long," Dorlus said. "That's what I can't wait to get into."

He will be able to do just that on July 24 when the team reports to training camp. And there's not a soul at the Falcons' facility who isn't ready for Jarrett to resume his responsibilities alongside his teammates. By that point, Atlanta will have gone nine months without No. 97 suiting up.

Jarrett knows how important his return is.

"To be in a position of leadership," Jarrett said, "is something that I don't take lightly."

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