Dwight Freeney has expressed interest in returning to the Atlanta Falcons for the 2017 season. The Atlanta Falcons have some interest in bringing back the veteran pass rusher. According to NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling, in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio last week, the 37-year-old free agent revealed that he has remained in contact with Atlanta Falcons coaches and players throughout the offseason. This could be a good thing for the Falcons, who would welcome veteran leadership in the locker room and on the field.
“That line of communication is still very open. They say they’re still very interest,” Freeney said. “I’m planning to reach out to them here soon and hopefully we both believe they want me back and playing for them.”
If he comes back, this will be the 16th season in the NFL for Freeney, a former first round draft pick by Indianapolis out of Syracuse in 2002. Freeney played for the Colts (2002–2012), the San Diego Chargers (2013–2014), and the Arizona Cardinals (2015) before coming to Atlanta last season. He has 122.5 sacks in his career and his resume in the NFL is as good as anyone who has played the game.
Freeney is a Super Bowl Champion with the Colts in 2006, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, a three-time First Team All-Pro and was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
Now, he seems on the fence about making a return. But should he decide to put the cleats on, the Atlanta Falcons appear to be the destination.
“I was kind of undecided before, but as it got closer, I was saying to myself, ‘Winning the Super Bowl and leaving would feel amazing to me,'” Freeney continued. “The best year I ever experienced was the year that we won the Super Bowl. Wouldn’t it be great to leave like Jerome Bettis, Ray Lewis or someone in that type of situation?
“We didn’t win so that’s gone.”
Regardless of the fact the Atlanta Falcons drafted Takk McKinley to play in Freeney’s spot, he can still be used as a situational pass rusher and outside linebacker in Quinn’s system. McKinely called Freeney the day after the Atlanta Falcons made the pick, on the advice of Quinn. The two talked about the NFL and how the rookie looked up to him as a player.
“He was telling me, ‘I used to use you on Madden and grew up watching you as a player,'” Freeney explained. “He was starting to make me feel real old. But he also said he can’t wait to be a part of that. He sounded like he was passionate. Hopefully, I’ll be there to help.”