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Moore Reflects on College Coach Pinkel

The Atlanta Falcons came back from their bye week ready to work at the practice facilities in Flowery Branch. Here are photos of practice during Week 11.

Education has always been an important part of William Moore's life. A coveted high school safety from Hayti, Mo., he learned at a young age that time spent in the classroom was as important as hours logged on the field, gym and film room.

So when University of Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel recruited Moore in 2003 and spent his entire visit stressing the importance of graduating college, the standout DB/WR and his family knew it'd be best to spend four—not three—seasons playing football in Columbia.

"He wasn't even talking about football," Moore recalled Wednesday. "He talked about, 'I'm going to make sure you graduate. You're going to be a student athlete first.' And he stuck to his word the whole time I was there—no matter how many All-Americans I was up for, no matter how many Big 12 votes I was up for."

Pinkel is now in his 15th year at Mizzou. Unfortunately, it also will be his last. The 63-year-old recently announced that, due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma discovered in May, he will resign on Dec. 31 and spend the rest of his time with friends and family. He'll let his wife teach him how to cook; maybe, he'll learn how to dance.

"I want to make very clear that I'm not doing poorly, and that this is a manageable disease, but it's one that will never go away," Pinkel said. "So many people have bigger struggles with other forms of cancer and other serious diseases, and I feel blessed that I've got something I can fight and still enjoy a good quality of life. I don't know how many years I have left, but I want to turn my focus to life outside of the daily grind of football."

This difficult news, of course, hit Moore hard. The Falcons veteran said he and everyone connected to Tigers football owes a lot to Pinkel, who's molded a perennial loser into a program that made back-to-back SEC Championship Game appearances.

If not for the highly successful mentor, if not for his guidance on and off the gridiron, Atlanta's ferocious safety may have never realized his dream.

"If it weren't for him, I really don't know where I'd be," Moore said. "He didn't care how good of a player you were. He recruited class guys and turned them into men.

"I know Coach Pinkel. He can handle anything."

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