Falcons wear new camouflage jerseys to honor military
When it comes to anything regarding the military, Dan Quinn and the Falcons don't hold back.
LOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When it comes to anything regarding the military, Dan Quinn and the Falcons don't hold back.
Sunday was the final day of open practice during the Falcons training camp at their team headquarters. Thousands of fans-- many in uniform -- packed the hill overlooking the fields.
The teams wore special camouflage jerseys. The offense's had more red in them, defense white, and quarterbacks black. The coaches wore shirts that featured a quote from Quinn: "Military represents team at the highest level."
"We wanted to dedicate this practice to [the military] and their sacrifice," Quinn said afterwards.
There were families of fallen military members on the field who received one-on-one time with the players and received autographs from players like quarterback Matt Ryan and tight-end Austin Hooper.
"Having some of the families of the TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors) program out here, being able to see them and spend time with them is really fun," Ryan said.
Quinn has always had events throughout the year to honor the military, and last season he was the recipient of the USAA Salute to Service Military Award, which goes out to the coach that does exceptional work to honor and serve the military.
The Falcons head coach, who is entering his third season with the team, even has his team train with the Marines each year during camp. They go through the rigorous drills that the men and women in uniform go through.
While it's a way to build his team's strength and bond, it also gives the players an idea of what those in uniform go through on a regular basis, including those like Patt Tillman.
Tillman was a former player who left his dream to play in the NFL to serve in the military after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He died while serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2004. There's discussion continuing today whether he should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as others who left the NFL to defend the United States.
Tillman is a name that Quinn said comes up in the locker room from time to time.
"Men like Pat Tillman who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country," Quinn said. "Each year, at the end of the year, we talk about men and women who give so much, and Pat Tillman is a name who comes up a lot because it’s so personal to the players who played the game."
The Falcons military appreciation day closes out the public portion of the team's training camp. They have two more practices this week before traveling to Miami for their first preseason game against the Dolphins on Thursday.