Executive extensions, encore for Gonzalez

Photo by AtlantaFalcons.com

On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons announced that club president and CEO Rich McKay,general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith all signed extensions on their current contracts.

McKay, who has been with the team for 11 seasons, signed a four-year extension through May of 2019. McKay will continue to be the head coordinator for all business operations of the franchise as well as the development and operation of the new stadium. Dimitroff and Smith each added one year to their contracts and are entering their seventh seasons with the team. The duo has combined for a regular- season win-loss record of 60-36 (tied for the sixth best in the league during that span), but the one-year extension window puts a lot of pressure on them this upcoming season after a 4-12 mark in 2013.


The hiring of new assistant GM Scott Pioli to join Dimitroff is expected to have an impact on how the Falcons draft this season. Pioli was fired in 2012 from the Kansas City Chiefs, but his draft picks had a great season in 2013 under the new Chiefs’ coaching staff. Pioli’s last first-round pick as Kansas City’s GM was nose tackle Dontari Poe, who turned into a Pro Bowler this past season.

At the Senior Bowl this past week there was another defensive tackle that caught the eye of Pioli and the rest of the Falcons’ staff. Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald won the Outland Trophy for best college lineman, the Lombardi Award for best lineman or linebacker and the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards for best defensive player during his collegiate career.

“Donald is a very explosive defensive tackle,” Smith said as Donald competed against some of the best offensive lineman in the nation earlier this week.

There is no telling if Donald will suit up for At- lanta next season, but it is clear that the franchise is looking hard at lineman leading up to this draft.


Retired Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez hit the gridiron one last time in Honolulu, Hawaii last Sunday as a Pro Bowl replacement for San Francisco’s Vernon Davis. Gonzalez hauled in three passes for 50 yards and helped Team Rice (captained by 49ers’ legend Jerry Rice) to a thrilling 22-21 comeback win, which ended with Carolina’s Mike Tolbert getting into the endzone for a two-point conversion with less than a minute left.

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