General Manager Thomas Dimitroff
General Manager Thomas Dimitroff Opening Statement on outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon:**
"Normally, this process takes 14 months for us to pick Sean's name from the draft board, but, we've been monitoring this young man for much more than 14 months. At one time, there was a rumor that Sean would come out early as an underclassmen, so, we've been dialed-in on him for a long time. We've done a lot of research. Coach Smith and I have had constant conversations about Sean and what we are going to do going forward in this year's draft. Our plans culminated with our pick yesterday, and we are very excited that Sean is a part of our Falcons family. Moving forward, we have quite a few picks in the next couple of days but this is one that we are obviously excited about. Again, Sean brings so much to the table for us. He brings athleticism and a very keen awareness of the game of football. He's a very smart football player that brings enthusiasm to this team, and also increases our enthusiasm on all levels. At this time, we see Sean as a four-down player in this system. Not only are we are looking forward to what he'll bring to the field but we are also looking forward to what he'll bring to the community. Without going on and on about his accolades, I'd like to bring up Coach Smith to discuss where Sean fits in with the Atlanta Falcons."
Head Coach Mike Smith
Head Coach Mike Smith on outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon:**
"When we were doing our due diligence, it was very obvious that the skill-set that Sean had, was exactly what we were looking for. The thing that attracted us the most, was his versatility and his ability to play multiple positions. We spent a significant amount of time in scouting Sean, and early in the process, it became very apparent, that there were some traits that we really liked on and off the football field. We came away very impressed with his attitude, with his work ethic and his F-B-I (Football Intelligence). The NFL game right now is evolving into a spacing game. Offensive formations are making more "three" and "four" wide-sets, and not necessarily with three or four wide-receivers in a game. In today's league, teams are producing more and more, athletic tight ends and running backs. In order to compete, you have athletic linebackers that can match those types of athletes, and Sean definitely has those skills. I am very, very excited about adding Sean to our linebacking core. As we watched him in college, we could see his tackle production go off the charts. His ability to create plays in the backfield was also very impressive. All of these traits reinforced our decision as we went through this process. When we were on the clock, there was no doubt that this was a guy we wanted to have on our football team. The person I'd like to introduce right now is our next and newest Atlanta Falcon, Sean Weatherspoon."
Talk about your encounters with the Falcons and what you plan to do for this organization:**
"First of all, I would like to thank God. This whole process has been a lot of fun and I know it was a blessing from God. I would like to thank Mr. Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, and Coach Smith for choosing me to be a part of this organization. Last night was a big deal for me and my family. I would like to thank my Mom who is here with me today, and the rest of my family that could not make it. They have supported me for years, and they are the reason why I am here today. I'm very excited to be a part of this organization. Throughout the process, I had a feeling that I would end up with the Falcons. They showed a lot of interest in me. I sat down with them at the combine and had a great meeting with them. They also came out to Missouri and saw me work out personally. Their actions really showed me that they were considering me as a draft pick. I had a great meeting with their staff and it was an exciting time for me. Once I came to Atlanta for my visit, it gave me another opportunity to sit down with their staff and their organization. After that meeting, I just knew that this was going to be the place for me. I just had a feeling. It is a blessing for me to get picked by a team and an organization that I really want to play for. It's great for me and my family and I'm really excited."
"I'm looking forward to coming in and working hard. I want to come in and put my nose to the ground. I hope to come in each and every day and learn how to be a great player. I want to help this team in any way that I can, whether it's special teams or wherever they need me. Eventually, I want to work my way into the line-up but when it is all said and done, I want to be a great player. I am looking forward to working with the great linebacking core that they have here. I had an opportunity to speak with Curtis Lofton earlier today and we're both very excited to work together. He's a guy that I played against when he was in college. Obviously, he's a great player and he's doing great things here. I'm also excited about working with Mike Peterson, Coy Wire, and Stephen Nicholas. These are guys that play the game well and I just want to do whatever I can to help them out and become a cohesive unit. Getting drafted was a very big deal for me and my family and I am very excited and thankful to be here. I thank God that this day has come. It has been a great ride so far, and hopefully, I can come onto this team and help the city of Atlanta and this organization."
How would you describe the last 24 hours?
**"The last 24 hours have been amazing. My family members constantly asked me if I was ready to be drafted. I had to tell them not to get ahead of themselves, but once I got the call, it was amazing. I first got the call from Les Snead. He told me what the Falcons might do with their draft picks, then he said he wanted to call me back. I was so anxious about their decision, that I asked to speak to Thomas Dimitroff and told him to keep me on the line while they worked out the details. The only time I had butterflies, was when he put me on hold to speak to Mr. Dimitroff. Once I spoke to Mr. Dimitroff and Coach Smith, they connected me to Mr. Blank, explained their plans to me and it was finally complete. Moments later, my name went across the television screen and my family went crazy. I was very excited. After that, I had an opportunity to spend time with my family and friends. This whole experience has been surreal. I don't think I've wrapped my mind around it yet but I think it's starting to set in now."
Where did you start playing football, and who is the best basketball player in your family?
**"The best basketball player in my family has to be me. I was all-district in high school for basketball, but, I started to play football when I was a kid. I had two older brothers that roughed me up a lot in the backyard, so, I was really young when I first started. I was seven or eight years old when I played in my first game. I played quarterback and linebacker at the time, so I was pretty versatile. It was a good time and it felt like something that was very fun. Playing football as a kid, made me want to work and continue to make it to this point today. Overall, it has been a fun ride and I'm excited about it.
How did you end up going to the University of Missouri and what was your recruiting like?
**"I'm from southeast Texas, and in 2005, during my senior season, hurricane Rita hit Jasper, Texas. Up until that point, I knew my senior season was going to be big. I had a good junior year. We went to states and I got some publicity, but I knew my senior year was going to be a big year for me. The hurricane forced me and my team to miss four to five weeks of football. We had to play about two games a week to make up for that lost time. Before the hurricane, I was talking to a lot of schools, such as, LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M, but Missouri was one of the schools that spoke to me the earliest. It seemed like Missouri was the type of school that always found me. It seemed like I was always moving around. The linebacker coach at that time always contacted me. Anytime we spoke, it wasn't just about Sean Weatherspoon the football player, but Sean Weatherspoon the person. He always wanted to know about me and my family, and what we were doing. I went on a visit there and the family atmosphere seemed like the place for me. It was around Christmas. I went to the mall after my visit, and walked into a sporting goods store. The entire time I'm walking in the mall, I am thinking about where I want to go. As I stepped into the store, I saw a Mizzou Sweatshirt. The store was in southeast Texas, so it seemed strange that they would have carried anything for Mizzou. Once I saw it, I realized it must have been a sign. At that time, I realized that the University of Missouri was the place for me. I went home, talked to my parents about my decision, and I called up the coach and told him that I wanted to be a Tiger. Once I got to Missouri, things didn't always go well. I thought I was going to play outside linebacker, but they wanted me to play inside linebacker. Throughout all the obstacles I encountered, I continued to work hard. I backed up the senior captain and I relished my role. During my time on the team, it always seemed like my teammates dubbed me as the ambassador for the team. I relished that role and I accepted it with pride. I moved to the weakside linebacker during my sophomore year and lead the team in tackles. We had a good run, and I enjoyed my time at Missouri. I'm glad I went there. Looking back, I could not have seen myself going anywhere else."
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