Fal­cons sign GM Dim­itroff to a 3-year con­tract ex­ten­sion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Gen­eral man­ager Thomas Dim­itroff fi­nally has the security he wanted from the At­lanta Fal­cons. Dim­itroff signed a three-year con­tract ex­ten­sion on Mon­day, end­ing ques­tions about whether this sea­son, the fi­nal year of his deal, would be his last with the Fal­cons.

“This is where I wanted to be, so I’m re­ally happy I got the op­por­tu­nity to be here a lit­tle longer,” Dim­itroff said. “We’re in a spot where I think the ar­row def­i­nitely is up, and I think we have a lot of bud­ding tal­ent here that can take us to the lev­els we want to get to.” Fi­nan­cial terms were not dis­closed for Dim­itroff’s new deal, which runs con­cur­rently with coach Dan Quinn’s through 2019.

Owner Arthur Blank said in a state­ment that he’s been pleased with Dim­itroff’s work in 11/2 sea­sons along­side Quinn.

“My ex­pec­ta­tions re­main very high,” Blank said. “By ex­tend­ing Thomas, we ex­pect to see their part­ner­ship con­tinue to grow and de­liver re­sults for our team and our fans, on and off the field.”

The Fal­cons never had con­sec­u­tive win­ning records be­fore Dim­itroff was hired in 2008, and they were above .500 in his first five sea­sons and made the play­offs four times. Dim­itroff was cred­ited for draft­ing quar­ter­back Matt Ryan, re­ceiver Julio Jones, run­ning back Devonta Free­man and cor­ner­back Des­mond Tr­u­fant.

The Fal­cons have be­gun re­build­ing one of the NFL’s worst de­fenses un­der Quinn, a former de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in Seat­tle. The Fal­cons drafted de­fen­sive end Vic Beasley, de­fen­sive tackle Grady Jar­rett, safety Keanu Neal and lineback­ers De’Von­dre Camp­bell and Deion Jones over the last two years. All five are starters.

When Quinn was hired in Fe­bru­ary 2015, Blank gave him the fi­nal say on which play­ers com­prise the 53-man ros­ter and the 10-player prac­tice squad.

“It was never an ul­ti­ma­tum,” Quinn told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “I just wanted a guy I knew I could work with. I don’t want to be the over­seer of it all. I want some­body I can work with from the per­son­nel side. Hon­estly, we haven’t had de­ci­sions where it was ten­u­ous or tough.”

Dim­itroff is the point man in tar­get­ing play­ers for the draft, free agency and trades. He’s in charge of scout­ing and player con­tracts.

“In all the years I was with coach Mike Smith and in the two years I’ve been with Dan, we have never been at a spot where we have dis­agreed on who that player is,” Dim­itroff told The AP. “It’s not re­ally any­where near the is­sue peo­ple make it out to be. Dan and I have a very good work­ing re­la­tion­ship that way. In the end, there has to be some­one who has (the 53-man ros­ter). It can’t be a mu­tual de­ci­sion.” The Fal­cons won six of their first seven games last year in Quinn’s first sea­son, but they stum­bled in the sec­ond half and fin­ished 8-8. They’re off to a 6-3 start this year, have the NFC’s sec­ond -best record and en­ter a bye week in seem­ingly good shape to make the play­offs for the first time since 2012.

Be­fore Quinn ar­rived, Dim­itroff and Smith led the team to a 10-22 record af­ter ad­vanc­ing to the NFC ti­tle game. Smith was fired, but Dim­itroff man­aged to keep his job de­spite bear­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for the slide.

“Yes, dif­fi­cult, but not down in the dumps, not feel­ing sorry for my­self,” Dim­itroff said. “I un­der­stand what I signed up for in this po­si­tion. We have an ex­cel­lent fan base here, a very knowl­edge­able fan base, and they want a cham­pi­onship foot­ball team. We’re go­ing to do all in our power to put it to­gether.” — AP

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