FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – As Dontari Poe finished cleaning out his locker on Sunday following the Falcons divisional round loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, he reflected on his first season in Atlanta.
"It was fun," Poe said. "It's a great organization, a great city. The coaching staff [does] a great job from top down."
The Falcons signed Poe in free agency last spring and his presence was felt immediately. Not only did he help bolster Atlanta's defensive line on game days, his leadership in the locker room throughout the week was also something the team relied on.
"Poe is a good leader for our defense," Vic Beasley said of Poe. "He brought a lot of energy to the room, a lot of laughter too."
Poe helped anchor a defense that finished the regular season as the No. 9 team against the run and No. 12 against the pass.
The attention he commanded from opponents' offensive lines set up Grady Jarrett on a number of occasions. Jarrett had his best season to date recording 55 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits and four sacks.
When Poe signed with the Falcons back in March, he credited the culture head coach Dan Quinn has built in Atlanta as the main reason he wanted to come play for the Falcons.
And it was exactly what he thought it would be and more.
"Most definitely," Poe said of if this was one of his most enjoyable years of his career. "They [bring out] the fun in football. They just let you play; they don't let too much other stuff get involved. It's a breath of fresh air."
Poe finished the season recording 39 tackles, four tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, two pass deflections and 2.5 sacks. The Falcons also featured him on offense at times in short yardage situations.
The defensive tackle reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Falcons and had the following to say when asked about his future with the Falcons and if he wants to return:
"Hopefully," Poe said. "We'll see how it goes, it's a business, so you have to understand that part first."