DeAn­gelo Hall joins long list of po­ten­tially good stars

The Covington News - - Sports -

Lately I’ve been hear­ing peo­ple around At­lanta re­mark “good rid­dance” and other neg­a­tive com­ments over the de­par­ture of for­mer Fal­cons cor­ner­back DeAn­gelo Hall, who has re­cently signed a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar deal with the Oak­land Raiders.

But has it oc­curred to any­one that this should not be any­thing new un­der the sun within the Fal­cons or­ga­ni­za­tion?

The At­lanta Fal­cons have al­ways been no­to­ri­ous for their bad de­ci­sion mak­ing within foot­ball op­er­a­tions and ques­tion­able player ac­qui­si­tions that would make any diehard fan scream in agony af­ter watch­ing their team get beat up ev­ery Sun­day.

Hall, a first-round draft choice (eighth over­all) out of Vir­ginia Tech, was a great in­vest­ment for the Fal­cons. In his four years in At­lanta, he was very pro­duc­tive with 228 to­tal tack­les (200 solo) and 17 in­ter­cep­tions, re­turn­ing one for a 48-yard touch­down.

Last sea­son, Hall, a twotime Pro Bowler, dis­played his worth by lead­ing the sec­ond-

ary with 71 to­tal tack­les, 16 pass de­fenses and five picks.

Though I could cer­tainly blame a num­ber of peo­ple for Hall leav­ing, I sim­ply won’t do it be­cause pro foot­ball is a busi­ness. How­ever, peo­ple fail to re­al­ize that the sit­u­a­tion with Hall and the Fal­cons runs much deeper than what any typ­i­cal dis­grun­tled em­ployee would have with his or her em­ployer.

Plain and sim­ple, DeAn­gelo Hall is a win­ner. He thought he was part of an or­ga­ni­za­tion that was ded­i­cated to win­ning, but what he ex­pe­ri­enced as a Fal­con to­ward the end was com­plete and ut­ter frus­tra­tion with the en­tire or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The Fal­cons have never re­ally de­vel­oped any kind of iden­tity or rep­e­ti­tion that would per­ceive it to be an elite team in the NFL. Yes, there was plenty of po­ten­tial with Michale Vick, but the Fal­cons do not pos­sess that type of swag­ger or cock­i­ness any­more.

On the other hand, the Raiders do. They have a place where Hall can be him­self and en­joy play­ing foot­ball with­out all of the drama and un­cer­tainty he faced in At­lanta. Yet Oak­land has strug­gled the same way as the Fal­cons have over the years.

In 2007, both teams were 4-12 over­all. But Oak­land had one of the top 10 pass de­fenses in the NFL, av­er­ag­ing 195.8 yards per game. Mean­while, At­lanta al­lowed more yards per game (228.4), good for 23rd in pass de­fense.

I’ll ad­mit that Hall’s ac­tions over the course of last sea­son were child­ish and im­ma­ture to say the least, but look what he had to deal with, be­gin­ning with Vick. Not to men­tion Bobby Petrino, who tried to pass him­self off as a pro­fes­sional foot­ball coach, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for Hall to main­tain his pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Why does At­lanta even bother? The Fal­cons ob­tain great play­ers over the years only to see those tal­ents fin­ish some­where else, whether be­hind bars or with an­other team. As a mat­ter of fact, I have yet to see any player stick around for more than 10 years from be­gin­ning to end.

Hall took the 70 mil­lion dol­lars and ran, not even stop­ping to look back. Yes, he will prob­a­bly be hated in At­lanta, but the good thing is that he should be adored in Oak­land. He has now has the po­ten­tial to join a long list of for­mer Fal­cons play­ers who have gone on to much greener pas­tures.

Re­gard­ing At­lanta, I’m think­ing it will do bet­ter come next sea­son. Heck, the Fal­cons might even make the play­offs.

But given their track record, I se­ri­ously doubt it.

Eric L. McDon­ald

Colum­nist

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