FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Don't expect Grady Jarrett to be taking it easy now that he's locked up his future for the next four years.
In fact, Jarrett says that's the exact opposite of what he'll be doing.
"More than anything now, I'm motivated," Jarrett said in his first interview after signing his contract on 92.9 The Game. "A lot of times guys get a big pay check and they go to chill [and] I just feel like it's totally opposite. I just feel there's so much out there for me and things that I want to accomplish that I haven't accomplished yet. I'm just ready to go get it."
Jarrett is coming off his best season where he recorded a career-best six sacks. Heading into Super Bowl LI, Jarrett had just one sack in two seasons. Since his three-sack performance against the Patriots, Jarrett has registered 10 sacks over the last two seasons.
Not only is Jarrett a key piece for the Falcons up front with his interior pass-rushing skills in addition to his ability to stop the run, where he might be even more valuable to Atlanta is as a leader.
For the past three seasons, Jarrett has been one of the Falcons' best and most vocal players on defense. Not only does he have high expectations of himself, he shares those same expectations with his teammates.
Jarrett never concerned himself with the business side of football throughout the process. He believes his work speaks for himself and it's how he'll continue to operate moving forward.
"I'm hungry … I'm always hungry for more," Jarrett said. "It's not a greedy thing, it's a thing of always wanting to continue to be better and always be at the top of your game. That's what drives me."
The high expectations won't just fall on Jarrett in the 2019 season. The Falcons' roster and coaching staff underwent significant changes in the offseason, including Dan Quinn taking over as defensive coordinator and the hiring of Dirk Koetter as offensive coordinator.
And most importantly, the Falcons are healthy again. Devonta Freeman, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen will be back in the starting lineup after missing significant time in the 2018 season.
The pieces are in place. Now, it's about putting it all together, according to Jarrett.
"We want to be the best we can be," Jarrett said. "We have the pieces, we just have to put it all together. There shouldn't be any excuses."