Falcons head coach Mike Smith's "24-hour rule" to put either a winning or losing effort in the rearview mirror has long since passed, but maybe not for Falcons safety Dwight Lowery. The defensive hero in the Week 10 win with an interception of Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown in the fourth quarter, Lowery showcased the kind of resiliency that has defined his career.
Originally selected by the New York Jets in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft, Lowery earned 19 starts in three seasons, totaling seven interceptions. In 2011, the Jets traded Lowery to Jacksonville, where he made the most of his new beginning, starting 11 games, logging 47 tackles, 10 passes defensed and two interceptions.
The next two seasons would test Lowery's perseverance. Nine games into his 2012 season, he was placed on season-ending IR. Following an offseason of hard work and entering 2013 with confidence, Lowery again found himself on IR, after just three starts.
Looking back at his first six seasons in the NFL, traded by the Jets and later released by the Jaguars, Lowery wondered what was next.
"I thought to myself, 'This is going to be a telling time of whether or not I'm ever going to play football again,' " Lowery said. "I prepared like I was going to play again and when I got the opportunity, I was ready."
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Opportunity knocked on April 8, 2014, when the Falcons signed Lowery to the team. In his first season with the Falcons, he has started each of the team's nine games, recording 43 tackles, four passes defensed, a fumble recovery and the crucial pick to help secure the Falcons' third win of the season in Week 10.
The battle-tested Lowery approaches each week with the look of a warrior, showcased by the face paint he wears in games.
"I have a little bit of Indian descent," Lowery said. "So, as I've been doing it, it kind of gives me a tribal-warrior feeling. I feel like, as I continue to work and I continue to put time and effort in, I'll get better and I feel like that's what's happening."