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Atlanta Falcons

Under Armour, Julio Jones Part Ways with One Year Left On Contract

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Under Armour and Atlanta Falcons superstar wide receiver Julio Jones have officially mutually parted ways with a year remaining on their contract.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Under Armour spokesperson Dean Stoyer confirmed on Saturday that Jones had left the brand after Jones was sporting Nike shoes on the sideline during Friday’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Per Rovell, Jones  has worn Under Armour cleats during Falcons’ training camp because he still felt more comfortable in the shoes after exploring other brands, adding that Jones can cover up the logo since there’s no longer a deal in place between the brand and the elite receiver.

Jones initially signed with Under Armour back in 2011 prior to being selected with the 6th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by Atlanta.

As of this writing, Jones has not inked a new deal with an apparel brand.

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

Atlanta Falcons

Patriots’ Acquire Mohamed Sanu

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Mohamed Sanu

The New England Patriots have acquired veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Patriots have been banged up in the receiver corps with injuries hitting the likes of Julian Edelman (ribs), Josh Gordon (knee) and Phillip Dorsett (hamstring) during recent weeks.

Sanu now gives the Patriots, and Tom Brady, an inside target and 3rd down receiver that can help alleviate the pressure off of Edelman.

Sanu, 30, has 33 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown thus far during the 2019 season.

Sanu is under contract through the 2020 season, and is reportedly “good” with the trade and excited to try to win a Super Bowl, per the report.

Both Sanu and Brady issued the following on Twitter.

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Atlanta Falcons

Falcons’ Qadree Ollison Switches Numbers to Honor Slain Brother

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Qadree Ollison

Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Qadree Ollison was given permission by head coach Dan Quinn to switch numbers from #32 to #30 to honor his brother who was slain back in 2017, according to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.

Ollison’s older brother, LeRowne Harris, wore the #30 as a youth league standout players back in Niagara Falls, New York, and died at the age of 35 when he was shot three times in a gas station parking lot.

Quinn approached Ollison with the idea of the number switch when the number became available following the release of fullback Ricky Ortiz, who was waived with an injury settlement.

“They’ve got to call and ask the league, but [Quinn] said it shouldn’t be a problem,” Ollison said. “A number is a number, but this means a little bit more to me. It’s going to be really nice to have that. It’s going to be exciting for everybody, just wearing that number and what it represents to me and my family.”

Ollison’s teammate Devonta Freeman wears #24 in honor of his late aunt who died at the young age of 24 due to a heart attack, and Freeman can relate to Ollison.

“I definitely respect it, for him to represent his brother like that,” Freeman said. “Everything I do and when I perform, it’s about my family, my auntie, and success for generations.”

Ollison may have to wait up to 7 days for the league to approve the number change, so he may not be wearing it when the Atlanta Falcons kick off the 2019 season on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

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Philadelphia, The City of Underdogs

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This Saturday, January 13th, the NFC’s top seeded Philadelphia Eagles will be kicking off the NFL’s Divisional Playoff Round against the defending NFC Champions,  the Atlanta Falcons.  The road to the Super Bowl has to come through South Philadelphia and the fans of the Eagles are ready to make their impact.  

These blue-collar, tough-love fans may have even more motivation this weekend to be the notoriously loud fan base that they are.  The Eagles are entering the game in historical fashion,  as the first ever number 1 seed in the NFL playoffs to be considered as home underdogs. The Falcons are coming into South Philly as 2.5 point favorites.  

Historically,  the Birds have had no problem dealing with being chosen the home underdog in the playoffs.  They have been chosen as home underdogs three previous occasions in 1981 against the Detroit Lions, 1995 against the Dallas Cowboys, and most recently in 2000 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Each of these underdog performances lead to dominant wins for the Eagles,  winning by at least two possessions each time and by an average of 17 points.

The city of Brotherly Love is no stranger to being considered the underdog across all realms of sports and perhaps may even feel more comfortable as the underdog.  But there is no doubt that it still feels like a Rocky Balboa left-hook to the jaw to be the first ever number one seed chosen as underdogs.  Many players have spoken out about feeling disrespected by the sports world and it’s clear that the odds-makers are feeding the Eagles even more motivation for Saturday.  

These two teams are somewhat familiar to each other,  having played last year at Lincoln Financial Field.  Last year,  the Atlanta Falcons had a very dominant season with the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, Matt Ryan, carrying the Falcons all the way to a half time Super Bowl victory.  I think we all know what happened in the second half of last year’s Super Bowl.  

During this triumphant year for Ryan and the Falcons,  they had major issues when they came to The Linc.  Their high powered, top of the NFL offense was held to only 15 points.  Julio Jones,  the Falcons top Wide Receiver,  was able to have a good day recording 10 receptions for 135 yards,  but beyond that,  the Falcons offense was put on lock.

The Eagles defense held the Falcons to a total of 48 rushing yards,  leaving it up to Matt Ryan to try and beat the Birds through the air.  As for the Eagles offense,  Ryan Mathews had one of his best games as an Eagle rushing for 109 yards and two trips to the end-zone.  Along with Mathews’ day,  the Eagles ran for a total of 208 yards,  having their way with the Falcons defense.  

This year,  the Falcons have a new Defensive Coordinator in Marquand Manuel and have improved to become a top-10 rush defense in the NFL and just shut down one of the top running backs in the NFL last week when they faced Todd Gurley.  

This Divisional Round match-up will come down to the Eagles ability to run the ball against the Atlanta Falcons defense.  Without the Pro Bowl,  All-Pro Second Team quarterback Carson Wentz,  the Eagles offense can not expect too much out of Nick Foles.

The Birds will have to be carried by mid-season acquisition,  Jay Ajayi to run the ball early and often as well as fellow bruising running back,  LeGarrette Blount,  to slowly wear down the Falcons defense.  The Eagles Defense will be challenged again by the Falcons offense filled with studs.

By shutting down the Falcons rush attack last year,  the Birds should be very confident coming into Saturday’s match-up,  especially with all the improvements they have along their defensive line.  The Eagles come in as the number 1 rated rush defense in the NFL and will likely force Matt Ryan to beat their new and improved 2017 secondary.

I believe with the newly added motivation for the City of Philadelphia as well as for the players themselves,  the Eagles will win a nail-biter in South Philly,  another Jake Elliott game-winner,  17-14.  

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