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    The Falcons were major players for defensive end Robert Quinn in free agency, but they lost a coin toss to the Chicago Bears, Quinn told reporters in Chicago on Friday. “It was still pretty tough,” Quinn said. “I mean basically that’s what it boiled down to, is a coin flip. The Bears were on the right side of it. I don’t regret it. I’ve moved on from the past.” Quinn, 29, signed a five-year deal that is worth up to $70 million deal with the Bears on March 17. He was the 14th overall pick of the 2011 draft by the St. Louis Rams.  After the failed pursuit of Quinn, the Falcons signed Dante Fowler to a three-year, $48 million deal on March 24.    Quinn, a nine-year veteran, had 11.5 sacks last season for the Cowboys. He has 80.5 sacks over his career and has been selected to two Pro Bowls (2013 and 2014) and been named All-Pro (2013) once. Quinn has also played for the Dolphins.  Fowler also had 11.5 sacks last season.  The Bow Tie Chronicles Podcasts: Can be found on Google, iTunes and TuneIn For more content about the Atlanta Falcons: Follow me on Twitter @DorlandoAJC On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Have a question? Email me at dledbetter@ajc.com
  • Atlanta’s sports teams have annually come together for #404Day, a celebration of the city using its area code as a rallying point. But this year they are uniting even more to offer encouragement to fans during the coronavirus outbreak. Players from the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United and Dream are featured in a new video. They share the message of taking care of each other in the community, even if it means being apart for awhile. The players featured are Freddie Freeman of the Braves, Grady Jarrett of the Falcons, John Collins of the Hawks, Josef Martinez of Atlanta United and Tiffany Hayes of the Dream. In part of the video, the players say: “On this #404Day, we want to bring Atlanta together for a bigger purpose. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s have each other’s back. Let’s be a team. You be my teammate, I’ll be yours. “We’re facing a serious threat. But this city has conquered bigger challenges before. Better days are ahead. Let’s do what it takes. To be together again soon. Even if that means staying apart for now. Let’s do it. For Atlanta.” Martinez even took part while standing on crutches. He is recovering from knee surgery. The Braves would have played their home opener Friday night but their season has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Hawks and Atlanta United have had their seasons suspended while the Dream’s season has also been delayed.
  • With gas lines across Venezuela growing, a controversial shipping magnate has stepped in to prevent the country from running out of fuel amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press has learned. The fuel shortage, in the nation that sits atop the world largest crude reserves, is the latest threat to Nicolas Maduro's rule at a time he's under intense U.S. pressure to resign. Wilmer Ruperti’s Maroil Trading Inc. billed state-owned oil monopoly PDVSA 12 million euros last month for the purchase of up to 250,000 barrels of 95-octane gasoline, according to a copy of the invoice obtained by the AP. The gasoline was purchased from an undisclosed Middle Eastern country, said two people familiar with the transaction on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive dealings. The single gas shipment isn’t going to resolve Venezuela’s supply problems. But with the economy paralyzed, any amount of fuel that arrives will come as welcome relief, analysts said. Ruperti, a former oil tanker captain, has a colorful history coming to the rescue of Venezuela’s socialist revolution at critical junctures, something that endeared him to the late Hugo Chávez. But his latest gambit, which could help stave off a deepening humanitarian crisis, is bound to irritate the Trump administration, which this week doubled down on its campaign in support of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, sending naval ships to the Caribbean on a counternarcotics mission following Maduro's indictment in New York on narcoterrorist charges. Venezuela's oil fields and refineries have crumbled from years of mismanagement. More recently, fuel imports have dried up as the Trump administration tightened sanctions against Maduro, targeting two trading houses owned by Russia's Rosneft for providing a lifeline to the embattled leader. Then came the coronavirus, which sent crude prices crashing globally and paralyzed what little was left of domestic production. “In Venezuela, the only thing spreading faster than the coronavirus are the gasoline shortages,” said Russ Dallen, head of Caracas Capital Markets, a brokerage. In recent days, gas lines have popped up across Caracas, which is typically immune from days' long waits common in the rest of the country. But most stations had closed as supplies ran out. At one of the few gas stations still open in the capital Thursday, hundreds of cars, taxis and a flatbed trucks hugged the shoulder of a highway as heavily-armed soldiers stared down motorists, some of whom had been waiting three days to fill up. Among those in the 3-kilometer long line was Javier Serrano, who relies on a beat-up blue 1968 Ford Falcon to eke out a meager living as a taxi driver. “There’s a curfew at night and no public transportation,” the 49-year-old said. “One of my relatives could die at home because they don’t have a vehicle. We can’t even go from one house to another, or to a clinic.” The government blames U.S. aggression for the gas shortages. On Friday, it said it was formulating a “special fuel supply plan” to restore stockpiles in the “shortest possible time,” allowing the nation to combat the coronavirus. “We deplore the position of extremist sectors of the Venezuelan opposition that collude with foreign governments to plan and execute these actions against the Venezuelan people,” said Industry Minister Tareck El Aissami, the top economics adviser to Maduro. “History will mercilessly judge these traitors.” Enter Ruperti, who the leftist revolution has leaned on before to get it out of economic jams. In 2002, he chartered a fleet of Russian tankers to import gasoline amid a months' long strike at PDVSA seeking to remove Chavez. More recently, he funded the defense of First Lady Cilia Flores' two nephews in a politically charged U.S. narcotics trial as well as that of American Joshua Holt, who was held for two years in a Caracas jail on what were seen as trumped-up weapons charges. Ruperti, 60, was decorated by Chavez with military honors for breaking the strike and saw his business as a prized PDVSA contractor boom. Ruperti showed his gratitude by giving the leftist leader two pistols used by independence hero Simon Bolivar, which reportedly cost him $1.6 million. Later, however, he was sued by a unit of the Russian shipping company for allegedly paying millions in bribes. Ruperti declined to comment when contacted by the AP. While U.S. sanctions have driven away from Venezuela many established shipping companies and commodity traders, Ruperti appears to be little fazed. One of the documents obtained by AP shows his Swiss-based Maroil Trading AG opened accounts in dollars, euros and rubles at Moscow-based Derzhava Bank in November. One person said the gas that Maroil billed to PDVSA is en route and should arrive to Venezuela in the coming days. Dallen estimates that it's enough to supply Venezuela's current demand for little more than a week. While there have been only five deaths so far due to the coronavirus and most Venezuelans are closely observing a government-mandated lock down, a tense calm prevails over much of the country due to the gas shortages and concerns the already collapsed health care system will be overwhelmed if more people are infected. Bouts of protests have started to emerge among farmers who complain that their produce is rotting because they can’t transport it to urban centers. “An acute gasoline shortage at this juncture would bring about a serious worsening of the country’s humanitarian crisis, putting Venezuelans’ lives at even greater risk,” said Francisco Rodriguez, a Venezuelan economist who launched Oil For Venezuela, a U.S.-based group lobbying for sanctions relief. Whatever Ruperti’s motivations, Serrano said he'd be grateful for any relief no matter who it comes from. He's spent the two last nights in line, taking catnaps in his car or striking up conversation with those all around him, seemingly oblivious to the authorities' call for social distancing. Serrano complained that the National Guard soldiers assigned to patrol the line had threatened to write down their license plate numbers if they didn’t leave. He said the soldiers told them they were in line illegally because the rationed gasoline was reserved for essential vehicles, like the trucks delivering food to markets. “We’re all in this same fight together,” he said. “We all have families and we all understand the situation. The soldiers are following orders, but they shouldn’t act on them just to keep us down.” — Follow Joshua Goodman on Twitter: @APjoshgoodman Follow Scott Smith on Twitter: @ScottSmithAP Goodman reported from Miami.
  • ATHENS Many questioned Isaiah Wilson's decision to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft with two years of eligibility remaining. But interviews with Wilson at the NFL combine, and more recently on ESPN, reveal a young man who places a high value on his family. RELATED: Colorful and caring, Isaiah Wilson a popular teammate Wilson explained to DawgNation at the combine in Indianapolis last month his decision to skip Georgia's 26-14 bowl win over Baylor. 'I took off from the bowl season to spend time with my family,' Wilson said. 'I'm from New York. My family stayed in New York when I went to Georgia, and I spent probably a total of eight days with them in a three-year period. 'I just wanted to get home and spend a little time with my mom, and my dad, and my brother, before I embarked on this journey.' The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson has been projected to be selected between the second and fourth round of the NFL draft. Isaiah Wilson's NFL draft stock rising, per 7-round CBS mock But wherever he gets selected, he told ESPN host Laura Rutledge it will be a tearful moment for his mother when his name gets called. As @AdamSchefter has reported, the NFL Draft will look a lot different this year but the emotions for families in the middle of it will be the same. @_LayZay_ illustrates that beautifully here: pic.twitter.com/Mg8OuRqYS7 Laura Rutledge (@LauraRutledge) March 29, 2020 'I think she's going to be speechless, genuinely,' Wilson said. 'I don't think she's going to have a lot of words. She may say, I'm proud of you' after about 10 minutes of crying. But I think initially she's going to cry for a long, long time.' There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes, said Wilson, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Poly Prep 'In youth leagues I had to pay for membership to play and all that good stuff,' Wilson said. 'High school, I went to a prestigious private high school that was 40k a year in tuition. It was more than some colleges out there, and she made it work. 'I wasn't on full athletic scholarship, because it was just so much, and she had to make ends meet. 'She had to sacrifice weekends where she was supposed to be resting to take me to practice or take me to a game,' Wilson said. It didn't take long for the sacrifices to pay off once Wilson was at Georgia. Wilson started and earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors in 2018 after redshirting the 2017 campaign. Last season, Wilson overcame an ankle injury to help anchor the offensive line. NFL.com projects Wilson as a player who will be a starter in the next two seasons at football's highest level, even though he needs more work on his technique. 'I would say I'm big, strong, fast and athletic,' Wilson said last month in Indianapolis. 'My football I.Q. is pretty good, so the playbook won't be a problem. 'I come from a Pro Style system. It was a Pro Style Spread (at UGA), which is making its way into the NFL.' But more than anything, Wilson likes sharing that he comes from a father and mother that loves and supports him. 'That's 12 years of your weekends just gone, so the time she's put in, and financial support she's put in, emotional support of when things got tough to keep my head up and help me push through certain adversity, she's done a ton, and so has my dad,' Wilson said. 'They've both broke their backs to help me to get into this position.' DawgNation Georgia NFL draft stories D'Andre Swift NFL draft stock breakdown from Mel Kiper Jr. Mel Kiper Jr. Top 10 position rankings feature several UGA players Georgia football Mauler' Solomon Kindley on Atlanta Falcons radar Andrew Thomas in first-class form at NFL combine Isaiah Wilson sheds light on 2020 Georgia O-Line Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Lawence Cager message at NFL combine high ceiling' D'Andre Swift draft stock makes Georgia football RBU' again Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson The post WATCH: Former Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson reveals years of family sacrifice appeared first on DawgNation.
  • One of the best feel-good stories for Georgia fans since the coronavirus pandemic has been Todd Gurley's 'homecoming' to play NFL football this season for the Atlanta Falcons. Of course, Gurley starred for the Bulldogs, and his return to the area has generated a lot of positive interest among UGA fans. However, another running back who played running back at UGA like Gurley has expressed concerns about the sky-high expectations for Gurley: Terrell Davis, who is in the NFL Hall of Fame and won a Super Bowl MVP, had the same type of knee issues as Gurley, he told TMZ Sports. 'I went through two years of that and struggling with that big-time, man, and never feeling great,' Davis said. 'So . . . they say he has an arthritic knee. I've had that, I understand what it feels like . . . you're just a second slower. When you think about making a cut, the signal from your brain to your knee comes just a fraction of a second too slow where the knee doesn't respond to it.' Davis, 47, was sidelined with knee injuries in 1999, and came back the following the season. But things were different ultimately leading to his 2002 retirement. 'It was always where I (felt like I) was just one rehab away from feeling like I was going to be great but I kept chasing that TD of old and I could never find it.' Davis, who made headlines this week for donating $400,000 of products from his sports performance beverage and wellness company to food banks, wishes Gurley nothing the best. He just wants people to know how things went for him during a similar injury experience. Of course, fans of the Bulldogs and Falcons are hoping things go much better for Gurley than it did for Davis. The post Former Super Bowl MVP from UGA compares Todd Gurley's knee issues to his own appeared first on DawgNation.
  • With everyone looking and trying to adjust to the new normal we're living in, any good news is certainly welcome. And over the past couple of weeks, Todd Gurley and Scott Sinclair have been able to provide that to a number of people who follow Georgia football. Gurley signed with the Atlanta Falcons, meaning he'll be making a return of sorts to the state of Georgia to play football. He also dropped a hype video, filled with moments from his standout Georgia career. https://t.co/SMfRMf3fW7 Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) March 28, 2020 As for Sinclair, he's continued to provide daily workout routines that people are mostly able to do from their home. With many gyms around the country closed, it is a good way to at least try and stay in shape for the moment. The Georgia strength and conditioning coach also shared some videos of Georgia football players working out, giving inquiring fans a look into how they are still focusing on the upcoming season. 3/27 Workout. All you need today is two chairs and some Friday motivation! Let's get it! @GeorgiaFootball #ATD #AttackTheDay #FinallyFriday #staysafe pic.twitter.com/WFr97uuhzC Scott Sinclair (@coach_sinclair) March 27, 2020 DawgNation's Connor Riley discusses both of these topics, as well as answers some questions on the likes of Jamie Newman, Todd Monken, Kirby Smart and a number of other topics pertaining to Georgia football at the moment. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis continuing comeback home' in Athens, granted exemption Georgia football: What would have been the talk of spring practices by now? Bracket season: Discussing the top moment of each Georgia football season under Kirby Smart iter says UGA among teams most hurt by missing spring practice SEC steps toward resuming football preparations, approves online chalk talks Jonathan Jefferson: 5 things to know about this week's 2021 Georgia commit Opinion: Kirk Herbstreit's reckless speculation does college football a disservice WATCH: If you don't like Todd Gurley on the Atlanta Falcons, you're anti-fun ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. breaks down D'Andre Swift draft stock The post WATCH: Todd Gurley, Scott Sinclair providing good Georgia football fans good vibes appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Actor John Callahan, known for playing Edmund Grey on “All My Children” and also starring on other soaps including “Days of Our Lives,” “Santa Barbara” and “Falcon Crest,” has died. He was 66. His ex-wife and former “All My Children” co-star Eva LaRue announced his death on her social media account on Saturday. The two, who played a married couple on the show, shared a daughter, Kaya, “May Flights of Angels Wing You to Your Rest my Dear Friend. Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co parent partner, and loving father to Kaya,” she wrote on Instagram. “Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess. You gave the best most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss for words right now for you.” Callahan starred on “All My Children” from 1992 to 2005.
  • The father of former Falcons quarterback Bobby Hebert died Saturday because of the coronavirus. Hebert Sr. was 81. According to ESPN, Hebert Jr., along with his wife Jojo,  released a statement Saturday that included “our hearts are broken.” The ex-quarterback who played 11 seasons in the NFL also said Hebert Sr. was “the reason I made it.” Bobby Hebert Jr. is currently a sports radio analyst for WWL in Louisiana. He talked on the air Friday about his father’s illness. “He’s tough,” Hebert said. “You can be tough and the virus can overwhelm you, but I know he’s a fighter. ... He’s fighting, he’s trying to hang in there. They’re giving him oxygen, he’s breathing and he’s trying to fight through it.” Hebert signed with the Falcons in 1993 and played the final four seasons of his career. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1994. The quarterback’s son, T-Bob, spoke about his grandfather on Twitter Saturday.

News

  • Two Florida law enforcement officers who tested positive for the coronavirus have died. Broward County Deputy Shannon Bennett, 39, died Friday, and Palm Beach County Sgt. Jose Diaz Ayala, 38, died Saturday, officials said. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said Bennett, a 12-year veteran of the agency, reported feeling sick March 23 while at work and tested positive for the virus at a hospital the next day. Bennett was hospitalized March 27 and had been showing signs of recovery, but his condition worsened Friday, Tony said. Tony said Saturday that he considers Bennett’s death to be one in the line of duty. The agency described Bennett as an “out and proud gay law enforcement deputy” who helped lead an outreach initiative to foster relations between the law enforcement and LGBTQ communities. He served as a school resource officer at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, where he also mentored students. Bennett was planning to get married later this year. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Ayala had been battling other underlying health conditions before contracting COVID-19. He had been with the agency for 14 years. Ayala joined the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division in 2006 as a deputy and was promoted to sergeant in 2016. “He had an outstanding career with the agency and was respected by all of his peers,' Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. Ayala leaves behind three daughters.
  • An Atlanta-area family is thankful for an act of kindness during the chaotic coronavirus pandemic. In 2013, Jamie McHenry was killed in a car crash during spring break in West Palm Beach, Florida, WSB-TV reported. Every year since his death, McHenry’s parents make the trip from their home in North Fulton County to St. George Island on the Florida Panhandle to pay their respects to their 13-year-old son at a memorial. This year, they could not go because of the coronavirus pandemic. But that didn’t mean the memory of their teen son was forgotten. A random stranger in the area heard the family’s story and decided to step in and make sure Jamie McHenry’s memorial was still decorated. The kind stranger, who posted a photo of the good deed on Facebook, wrote: “Christine and the McHenry family … we were sad to read that due to this pandemic your annual trip to SGI was canceled and you will miss visiting the memorial brick for your son Jamie. Wanted to know we are watching over it for you today and he is in our thoughts. God bless.”
  • Amoco and its parent company, BP, announced their gasoline stations will offer a 50-cent discount per gallon to first responders, doctors, nurses and hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic. “Thank you for being on the front lines and keeping our communities healthy and safe,' the company said on its website. 'We are honored to be supporting you and helping you get where you need to go,” the company said on its website.The discount, which eligible customers can sign up for, will allow the health care workers to take the discount the next time they fill up, BP said on its website. People who want to take advantage of the discount must verify their status through ID.me, a website that “simplifies how individuals prove and share their identity online.”
  • Can’t get enough of “Tiger King”? Don’t despair. Netflix is releasing an extra episode next week, Variety reported. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” is a true-crime docuseries about wild animal owners in the United States. The documentary focuses on the self-proclaimed Tiger King, Joe Exotic, aka Joseph Maldonado-Passage, who keeps hundreds of wild animals in cages at his G.W. Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma, Entertainment Weekly reported. Current zoo owner Jeff Lowe broke the news in a Cameo video posted on Twitter by Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner. “Netflix is adding one more episode. It will be on next week. They’re filming here tomorrow,” Lowe said in the video. Lowe joined later episodes of “Tiger King” as Exotic’s business partner, Entertainment Weekly reported. It is not clear if the new episode will be a follow-up to the show’s seven-episode run or a reunion, Variety reported. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is currently serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight counts of falsifying wildlife records and nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act. The murder-for-hire charges stem from a plot to have a hitman kill Carole Baskin of Tampa, Florida, and the wildlife crimes are related to Maldonado-Passage’s killing of five tigers and falsifying of paperwork. Netflix did not respond to a request for comment about a new episode, the magazine reported.
  • Georgians are still feeling the weight of the new coronavirus Sunday as the number of confirmed cases increased to 6,647 and the death toll rose to 211.  The Georgia Department of Public Health reports since Saturday 3 more Georgians have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus. The latest data released at noon shows 264 new cases since Saturday evening.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Of Georgia’s overall cases, 1,283 patients remain hospitalized, a rate of about 19%, according to the noon figures. That number is up from 1,266 confirmed hospitalizations Saturday evening. The rate of Georgia patients who have died of COVID-19 is about 3.1%.  The number of COVID-19 cases in the state has tripled in just over a week. Health officials announced that Georgia surpassed 2,000 cases on March 27. A statewide shelter-in-place mandate went into effect at 6 p.m. Friday in an effort to limit residents’ travel and curb the spread of the virus. The order requires Georgians to remain in their homes for all but essential activities, which include buying food, seeking medical care, working in critical jobs or exercising outdoors. » RELATED: Confusion surrounds Georgia’s coronavirus lockdown The number of cases across the state is expected to spike even more in coming weeks as plans are put in place to increase daily testing capacity. Projections suggest the state could see thousands of new cases and hundreds more deaths before the virus is contained. On Sunday, 27,832 tests had been conducted across the state with about 23.88% returning positive results.  » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia Fulton County has the most cases with 962, followed by Dougherty County with 686, DeKalb County with 543, and Cobb with 456, according to the latest data. Fulton reported 21 new cases since Saturday evening while hard-hit Dougherty County reported 50 more. The southwest Georgia county of about 90,000 has lost 30 residents to COVID-19, more than any other county in Georgia. MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany So far, the oldest patient to die in the state was a 96-year-old Bibb County woman while the youngest was a 29-year-old woman from Peach County, according to the health department.  For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals. 
  • As you drive toward the Marietta Square, you’ll see it to your right – a “Heroes Work Here” sign display below the Wellstar Kennestone hospital sign. Go through two traffic lights and you’ll see homemade signs of support in the front yards of some homeowners along Church Street.   From Marietta to elsewhere in metro Atlanta, residents are now acutely aware of the burden on health care workers as the coronavirus crisis plays out … and with likely many more tough days ahead before it all gets better.  What public shows of support for health care workers are you seeing in your local community? What are you and/or others doing to support those most at risk on the coronavirus frontlines? Tweet at us to tell us with your words and pictures: @wsbradio. You can also share with us on the WSB Open Mic, via the WSB Radio app.