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A behind the scenes look into Kirk Cousins' first hours as an Atlanta Falcon

How a day that was meant to be an introduction felt more like a homecoming. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When the clock struck 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, tight end Charlie Woerner pulled up to the Falcons' facility in Flowery Branch. Stepping out the doors of the facility to greet him was Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot. As the two chatted, team photographers and videographers looked on. They got their shots but were ultimately waiting for another, very specific shot.

We'll call it "the" shot.

And "the" shot on Wednesday was of Kirk Cousins, the veteran quarterback the Falcons were set to sign that afternoon, walking into the Falcons facility for the very first time.

Everyone knew he was driving in and would be to the facility a little after 4 p.m. ET. He and his family began a two-day road trip from Michigan to Atlanta the moment Cousins agreed to terms with the Falcons on Monday afternoon when the legal tampering window opened. So, yes. Everyone knew Cousins was on his way, but perhaps no one was expecting the casual way in which he strolled through the parking lot and up the sidewalk to his new place of work.

With a duffel bag in one hand and a gray suit in the other, Cousins kind of -- somewhat ironically, even -- snuck up on the group awaiting his arrival.

It felt like a "Who are you guys waiting for?" kind of moment, which is humorous because everyone was waiting for... well, him.

Just as quickly as Fontenot greeted Cousins, he was whisked away for his physical. Before Cousins could sign anything, he had a couple tests to pass, which he did. He assured later that, even with a surgically repaired Achilles tendon, he was trending in the right direction physically. He should be ready to go by training camp in late July.

Once the physical was complete, Cousins -- finally -- entered the main building, walked up the staircase and into the executive board room where his contract awaited. Pages were flipped, ink was dried, and pictures were taken, all commemorating the Falcons' largest free agency deal in -- one could argue -- the organization's history. The four-year deal reportedly worth up to $180 million was signed and sealed.

Cousins was officially an Atlanta Falcon.

What's all together ironic about this part of the story is that his sons, Turner and Cooper, were decked out not in Falcons gear but Georgia football merch. Cousins' wife, Julie, is a Georgia alum. So, fortunately, she already had a little red and black on hand for the two young boys.

As the family of four smiled for pictures, it was a moment that felt more like a homecoming than a true introduction.

And that's a theme that bled through Cousins' first few hours as a member of the Falcons organization.


Cousins called Atlanta his home away from home. And as he wove through conversations and interviews, he told stories of how pieces of the city and its surrounding suburbs shaped him and his family.

He went on his first date with his wife to Stone Mountain. The couple was married in Roswell. Their younger son, Turner, was born in downtown Atlanta. They spent offseasons just outside the city. They have family here. Cousins, himself, attended Falcons games at the Georgia Dome in 2016. He has seen his father-in-law pray for Falcons wins (as well as Braves and Hawks wins, too).

It wasn't a foregone conclusion Cousins would end up playing for the Falcons one day. Just because you love a place doesn't mean you're destined to land there.

However, one could say it is almost serendipitous to see this specific place become a part of Cousins' professional journey as he enters Year 13 of his career.

It's a journey he very clearly wants to end here, in a place where much of his family's life began. He said point blank in his introductory press conference that he'd like to retire a Falcon. That's the goal, he added. But even as he walked out of the media room, introductory press conference over, it felt more like an establishment of an old bond, rather than a first meeting.

Perhaps that's why this pairing makes so much sense.

The Falcons and Cousins weren't on a collision course for one another, but now that they've collided? Perhaps the, "Who are you guys waiting for?" moment makes a little more sense.

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