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Falcons set to close out OTAs this week

Falcons set to close out OTAs this week

Falcons coach Mike Smith after OTAs

Falcons set to close out OTAs this week

The Falcons, who already have five of their eight draft picks signed, are set to open the final week of their organized team activities Tuesday.

The team, which has four more sessions left, will practice Tuesday through Friday before breaking for the weekend.

They are currently working on signing first-round pick cornerback Desmond Trufant, second-round pick cornerback Robert Alford and seventh-round pick quarterback Sean Renfree.

Trufant and Alford are expected to compete immediately for playing time. Renfree, who played at Duke, has a shot at landing the No. 3 quarterback position.

Trufant participated in the rookie minicamp, but, per league rules concerning college graduations, is unable to participate in the OTAs. The Falcons have used a video Internet site to include Trufant in as many meetings as possible.

Alford has taken snaps with the first and second units at right, left and nickel cornerback.

Renfree, who suffered a shoulder injury in Duke’s bowl game, is working with the quarterbacks, but is just handing the ball off. He is expected to be ready to throw by training camp.

After OTAs, the team will reconvene for its mandatory minicamp on June 18-20, before taking the summer break. Training camp is set to open on July 25.

Falcons coach Mike Smith anticipates the tempo of the non-contact drills will pick up this week as the new players become acclimated to the schemes.

“I really like the way that the guys have been working,” Smith said. “It’s been a very competitive through the first half of the OTAs.”

Each team is allowed 10 OTA sessions over the offseason.

“There are some young guys that really have learned our scheme that we feel like are going to be able to help us,” Smith said. “Those are probably the two biggest highlights.”

The signing of first-round picks has been slow around the league.

Almost 200 of the 254 draft picks league-wide are under contract. Seven teams have signed all their picks and 31 teams have signed at least one.

The market for Alford, taken with the 60th pick in the draft, is set. Green Bay signed former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, the 61st overall pick, on May 30. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lacy’s deal with the Packers is worth $3.392 million and included an $847,208 signing bonus.

Last season’s 61st pick, San Francisco running back LaMichael James, was signed for $3.318 million with a signing bonus of $853,744. A total of $1.4 million of the deal was guaranteed.

The 60th pick last season, Baltimore’s Kelechi Osemele, signed a four-year deal worth $3.34 million with an $873,360 signing bonus.

In addition to working at cornerback, Alford has also been with the group of players catching punts.

Alford, of Southeastern Louisiana, is 5 foot 10, 185-pounds and has shown great speed. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.

Southeastern Louisiana plays in the Southland Conference and Alford was the first player taken in the draft from an FCS school.

Alford started off his career as a receiver before converting to defensive back. He finished his career with 10 interceptions and 21 pass breakups. He was academically ineligible for his first season in 2008.

After receiving $4.5 million in salary relief from the release of offensive tackle Tyson Clabo on June 1, the Falcons are $6.437 million under their $122.7 million salary cap, according to NFLPA documents.

The extra money appears to be dedicated to the three unsigned picks as the Falcons now have room to negotiate.

Before the savings, the Falcons had just $1.9 million of cap space. The 2012 salary cap slots from 22nd, 60th and 249th players selected totaled $2.5 million.

With slight increases, the Falcons would have just under $4 million left under the cap.

Once rookie deals are completed, the Falcons will move on to a contract extension for quarterback Matt Ryan, who’s set to join the NFL’s $100 million quarterback club.

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  • Almost 5,000 pounds of explosives brought down the Georgia Dome Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in a controlled demolition in Atlanta.
  • Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after masterminding the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday night after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.Manson died of natural causes at a California hospital while serving a life sentence, his name synonymous to this day with unspeakable violence and depravity.Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, reacted to the death by quoting the late Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who put Manson behind bars. Bugliosi said: 'Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.'Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,' Hanisee said.A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, the charismatic, guru-like Manson surrounded himself in the 1960s with runaways and other lost souls and then sent his disciples to butcher some of L.A.'s rich and famous in what prosecutors said was a bid to trigger a race war — an idea he got from a twisted reading of the Beatles song 'Helter Skelter.'The slayings horrified the world and, together with the deadly violence that erupted later in 1969 during a Rolling Stones concert at California's Altamont Speedway, exposed the dangerous, drugged-out underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the death of the era of peace and love.Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Manson maintained during his tumultuous trial in 1970 that he was innocent and that society itself was guilty.'These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up,' he said in a courtroom soliloquy.Linda Deutsch, the longtime courts reporter for The Associated Press who covered the Manson case, said he 'left a legacy of evil and hate and murder.'He was able to take young people who were impressionable and convince them he had the answer to everything and he turned them into killers,' she said. 'It was beyond anything we had ever seen before in this country.'California Corrections Department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said it has yet to be determined what happens to Manson's body. It was also unclear if Manson requested funeral services of any sort.Prison officials previously said Manson had no known next of kin, and state law says that if no relative or legal representative surfaces within 10 days, then it's up to the department to determine whether the body is cremated or buried.The Manson Family, as his followers were called, slaughtered five of its victims on Aug. 9, 1969, at Tate's home: the actress, who was 8½ months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Polish movie director Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the estate's caretaker. Tate's husband, 'Rosemary's Baby' director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, were stabbed to death in their home across town.The killers scrawled such phrases as 'Pigs' and a misspelled 'Healter Skelter' in blood at the crime scenes.Manson was arrested three months later. In the annals of American crime, he became the personification of evil, a short, shaggy-haired, bearded figure with a demonic stare and an 'X'' — later turned into a swastika — carved into his forehead.'Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,' author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book 'The White Album.'After a trial that lasted nearly a year, Manson and three followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Another defendant, Charles 'Tex' Watson, was convicted later. All were spared execution and given life sentences after the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.Atkins died behind bars in 2009. Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson remain in prison.Another Manson devotee, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975, but her gun jammed. She served 34 years in prison.Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934, to a teenager, possibly a prostitute, and was in reform school by the time he was 8. After serving a 10-year sentence for check forgery in the 1960s, Manson was said to have pleaded with authorities not to release him because he considered prison home.'My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system,' he would later say in a monologue on the witness stand. 'I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.'He was set free in San Francisco during the heyday of the hippie movement in the city's Haight-Ashbury section, and though he was in his mid-30s by then, he began collecting followers — mostly women — who likened him to Jesus Christ. Most were teenagers; many came from good homes but were at odds with their parents.The 'family' eventually established a commune-like base at the Spahn Ranch, a ramshackle former movie location outside Los Angeles, where Manson manipulated his followers with drugs, oversaw orgies and subjected them to bizarre lectures.He had musical ambitions and befriended rock stars, including Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. He also met Terry Melcher, a music producer who had lived in the same house that Polanski and Tate later rented.By the summer of 1969, Manson had failed to sell his songs, and the rejection was later seen as a trigger for the violence. He complained that Wilson took a Manson song called 'Cease to Exist,' revised it into 'Never Learn Not to Love' and recorded it with the Beach Boys without giving Manson credit.Manson was obsessed with Beatles music, particularly 'Piggies' and 'Helter Skelter,' a hard-rocking song that he interpreted as forecasting the end of the world. He told his followers that 'Helter Skelter is coming down' and predicted a race war would destroy the planet.'Everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not,' the Beatles' George Harrison, who wrote 'Piggies,' later said of the murders. 'It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson.'According to testimony, Manson sent his devotees out on the night of Tate's murder with instructions to 'do something witchy.' The state's star witness, Linda Kasabian, who was granted immunity, testified that Manson tied up the LaBiancas, then ordered his followers to kill. But Manson insisted: 'I have killed no one, and I have ordered no one to be killed.'His trial was nearly scuttled when President Richard Nixon said Manson was 'guilty, directly or indirectly.' Manson grabbed a newspaper and held up the front-page headline for jurors to read: 'Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares.' Attorneys demanded a mistrial but were turned down.From then on, jurors, sequestered at a hotel for 10 months, traveled to and from the courtroom in buses with blacked-out windows so they could not read the headlines on newsstands.Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of a musician and a stuntman.Over the decades, Manson and his followers appeared sporadically at parole hearings, where their bids for freedom were repeatedly rejected. The women suggested they had been rehabilitated, but Manson himself stopped attending, saying prison had become his home.The killings inspired movies and TV shows, and Bugliosi, the prosecutor, wrote a best-selling book about the murders, 'Helter Skelter.' The macabre rock star Marilyn Manson borrowed part of his stage name from the killer.'The Manson case, to this day, remains one of the most chilling in crime history,' veteran crime reporter Theo Wilson wrote in her 1998 memoir, 'Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom — The Country's Most Controversial Trials.' ''Even people who were not yet born when the murders took place know the name Charles Manson, and shudder.'___AP writer Michelle A. Monroe contributed to this report. This story contains biographical information compiled by former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. Deutsch covered the Tate-La Bianca killings and the Manson trial for The Associated Press and has written about the Manson family for four decades.
  • A crocodile was spotted Monday morning in the Atlantic Ocean in Hollywood. >> Read more trending news The crocodile was hanging out Monday morning near Surf Road and Hayes Street. A crowd gathered to watch the crocodile, and police were at the scene to make sure no one got too close to it. It's unclear how long the crocodile had been at the beach. The crocodile was captured around 1:30 p.m. by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Crocodiles can live in marine environments, but the reptiles are usually in saline and brackish mangrove swamps, lagoons and lower stretches of rivers, according to National Geographic. Crocodiles are poor swimmers, but can survive for long periods in saltwater without eating or drinking.
  • The local restaurant community in Atlanta is mourning the death of a young woman killed in a restaurant robbery. Police said three men walked into the Barcelona Wine Bar on Howell Mill Road right as the restaurant was closing early Sunday morning. The men tied up employees and forced 29-year-old Chelsea Beller upstairs to open up the safe. Beller was shot during the robbery and later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Her co-workers said they are absolutely shocked by the violent event. 'We got word last night about Chelsea and it shattered my heart,' said co-worker Tyler Walters. We’re learning about the impact the victim had on her friends and work family, on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4. Police are continuing to search for the killer robbers.  TRENDING STORIES: An ugly secret: Victims say private school teacher abused students for years Out with a bang: Georgia Dome comes down in Atlanta PHOTO GALLERY: The Georgia Dome is now gone forever (Before, during, after) “Investigators are diligently following up on leads on this case,” Atlanta police spokeswoman Officer Lisa Bender said. “There have been no arrests.”
  • The New York Times officials announced Monday that they were suspending reporter Glenn Thrush in the wake of allegations that the White House reporter made unwanted sexual advances toward multiple women. >> Read more trending news Thrush was accused of inappropriate behavior in a story published Monday by Vox. Thrush’s former colleague, Laura McGann, said he kissed her and put his hand on her thigh while they were at a bar one night after he told the third person in their group to leave them. The incident allegedly took place five years ago, while Thrush was a reporter for Politico. He joined the New York Times in January to cover the Trump administration, according to the newspaper. McGann, who was an editor at Politico when the alleged incident took place, said Thrush later told colleagues that their encounter went the other way and that he rejected advances from her. He reiterated his recollection to Vox, saying in a statement that “the encounter described was consensual, brief, and ended by me.” Three other women recounted similar tales to Vox involving Thrush. They declined to be identified. “I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence, and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately,” Thrush told Vox Sunday in an emailed statement. “Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable.” Officials with the Times said Monday that they were opening an investigation into the alleged incidents, one of which reportedly took place in June, after Thrush joined the newspaper. “The behavior attributed to Glenn in this Vox story is very concerning and not in keeping with the standards and values of The New York Times,” the Times officials said in a statement. “We intend to fully investigate and while we do, Glenn will be suspended.” Thrush said he was “deeply sorry” for an encounter that happened in June, in which a woman said Thrush began kissing her on the street after they had been in a bar. Thrush said he hasn’t had alcohol since the event, which he called “life changing.” Another woman in the story talks about a consensual drunken encounter with Thrush five years ago that left her rattled, and a fourth woman who was surprised by an unexpected kiss. Thrush worked as the chief political correspondent at Politico and as a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine before joining the Times staff. He previously worked at Newsday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man who ran into traffic trying to save his dog Sunday was struck and killed when a semitruck hit them both. The dog also died, the Colorado State Patrol said. >> Read more trending news The 39-year-old man from Tennessee was driving with a 37-year-old woman from Nevada when they had an argument, according to the Coloradoan. The woman, who was driving, stopped their Toyota on the side of Interstate 25. A dog, who was riding with them, managed to escape from the vehicle and ran onto the highway. The man ran across the road trying to save the dog when he was struck by the semitruck, according to the Denver Post. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi was not injured. The woman was taken to a hospital, according to the Coloradoan.