DALTON, Ga. (WRCB) -- What was just another preseason road trip for most Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans was a homecoming of sorts for Rico Council.

The Chattanooga native and former Howard High star found the familiar faces of friends and family in the stands at Coahulla Creek High School for Monday's open practice between the two teams.

"This is a big thing man," Council said following the two-and-a-half hour joint workout. "It's always good to come around close to home and being around people knew you before you were somebody, you know."

Council is trying to make the Falcons' roster after signing as a rookie free agent following the April draft. He's had a few months now to get his feet under him on the professional level after going through rookie camp and minicamp in the spring before training camp opened in late July.

"You've just got to play fast," Council said of the jump to the NFL. "You can't take plays off at this level and you always have to know what you're doing. I'm just trying to do the best that you can."

The 6-foot-1, 255-pound linebacker was the Ohio Valley Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Tennessee State, recording 87 tackles and 8.5 tackles for a loss.

He's doing his best to learn on the fly, but said he's lucky to be part of an extremely professional group of guys that truly understands what it means to be part of a team.

"We have a great set of veterans on our team. They help us out and help us get through everything," Council said. "We need a little help sometimes, and its nice to know that we don't always have to go through stuff by ourselves."

Mike Smith told reporters Monday that Council's best shot at making the team would come via a significant impact on special teams. Council is currently getting plenty of snaps in that role, while also running with the second and third-team defenses during practice.