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Back to black – Falcons break out new uniforms

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Black is back for the Atlanta Falcons.

The team announced on Wednesday their new uniforms for the 2020 season, marking the first redesign in 17 years. The new uniforms were supposed to be revealed next Tuesday, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Internet leaks led to the Falcons pushing up the date. The team’s announcement comes a day after NFC South foe Tampa Bay unleashed its new threads.

The new official Falcons home uniform will feature black jerseys and black pants, while the away look will be white on white. There will be up to eight different uniform combinations, including a throwback version to the 1966 team and a new “Rise Up” alternate uniform.

Team owner Arthur Blank addressed the changes in a letter, starting by discussing the pandemic affecting the country with the coronavirus outbreak and praising health care workers for helping aid the fight. Then in discussing the uniforms, Blank referenced the importance of the “back to black” theme.

“Black has been a part of our history since 1966 and both our fans and players have asked us to bring it back,” Blank said in the letter. “The ‘ATL’ moniker is known around the world, and we now wear it proudly as our badge of unity, diversity, and togetherness. Something our world needs more of, especially in these tough times.”

The collection includes four jerseys (black home, white away, gradient alternate and the ’66 throwbacks), four pants (black, white, red and throwbacks) and one helmet (satin black).

The Falcons used nearly two decades of fan research and collected from focus groups, online and social media. They also took input from current and former players, who decided it would be wise to own red but bring on the black, reflect the progress of the city and keep things simple while staying true to the roots. Internal discussions for the change began in 2016, with the process officially beginning in January 2018. It was a collaborative effort with the NFL and Nike to produce the final product.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and linebacker Deion Jones were among those modeling the new uniforms.

“There’s just a feeling to it,” Ryan said. “I can’t explain it when you look in your locker and that color and head to toe in black is going to be good too. I don’t know what it is, but I know there’s a feeling that comes with it for the guys too, when we see that in our lockers.”

Added Jarrett, “I think these new uniforms will give us, give the city a new energy, and I think people are going to really be excited about it. We know this is a tough time for everyone right now, but we hope this can bring some excitement and light to our city and our fans. Around the whole world everybody knows what ‘ATL’ stands for, so we’re proud to represent that, today and every day.”

Coach Dan Quinn also expressed his enthusiasm regarding the changes.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to see this look come together,” Quinn said. “Not only will the players be happy, but I think our fans will be happy. I know the head coach is. During this tough time for so many, we hope this new look gives our fans something to look forward to.”

Uniforms aside, the Falcons are looking to rebound from back-to-back 7-9 seasons and return to the playoffs in a pivotal season for both Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl in 2016, losing to new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in overtime 34-28.



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Jalen Ramsey, Rams ‘on same page’ concerning contract extension

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The Los Angeles Rams have been in contact with Jalen Ramsey‘s representatives about a contract extension as the All-Pro cornerback enters the final season of his rookie deal.

Ramsey played coy Tuesday when asked where negotiations stood.

“The Rams know where I stand,” Ramsey said on a video conference with reporters. “I think that’s all that matters at the end of the day. It will be handled. They know where I stand. They’ve been in contact with my agent. … They’re on the same page as my agent.”

When asked whether he would attend training camp if he had yet to sign an extension, Ramsey showed no hesitation.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said.

Ramsey is expected to command a record-breaking contract, and it’s anticipated that he will have the upper hand in negotiations, given what the Rams paid to acquire him before the trade deadline last season.

The Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks and a 2021 fourth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Ramsey, who was the No. 5 overall pick in 2016.

“I can’t really worry about that,” Ramsey said about the negotiations. “I just control what I got to worry about right now. … I feel like everybody knew what type of situation it was gonna be once they traded for me, so I think it doesn’t really need to be talked about that much. It will get handled.”

Considered among the top lockdown corners in the NFL, Ramsey has 10 interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and 49 pass deflections in four seasons.

The Rams have been aggressive in signing players to record-breaking contracts over the past two years.

Running back Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $40 million extension in July 2018 that included a record-breaking $45 million guaranteed. A month later, defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed a six-year, $135 million extension that amounted to the richest contract ever signed by a defensive player. Last September, quarterback Jared Goff signed a four-year, $134 million deal that includes a record-breaking $110 million guaranteed.

The Rams, however, cut Gurley this offseason and also traded receiver Brandin Cooks, who was in the midst of a five-year, $81 million contract.

Gurley’s and Cooks’ contracts will cost the Rams nearly $30 million in dead money cap charges in 2020.

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Jalen Ramsey, Rams ‘on same page’ concerning extension

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The Los Angeles Rams have been in contact with Jalen Ramsey‘s representatives in regard to a contract extension as the All-Pro cornerback enters the final season of his rookie deal.

Ramsey played coy Wednesday when asked where negotiations stood.

“The Rams know where I stand,” Ramsey said on a video conference with reporters. “I think that’s all that matters at the end of the day. It will be handled. They know where I stand. They’ve been in contact with my agent. … They’re on the same page as my agent.”

When asked if he would attend training camp if he had yet to sign an extension, Ramsey showed no hesitation.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said.

Ramsey is expected to command a record-breaking contract, and it’s anticipated that he will have the upper hand in negotiations given what the Rams paid to acquire him before the trade deadline last season.

The Rams sent their 2020 and 2021 first-round draft picks and a 2021 fourth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Ramsey, who was the No. 5 overall pick in 2016.

“I can’t really worry about that,” Ramsey said about the negotiations. “I just control what I got to worry about right now. … I feel like everybody knew what type of situation it was gonna be once they traded for me, so I think it doesn’t really need to be talked about that much. It will get handled.”

Considered among the top lockdown corners in the NFL, Ramsey has 10 interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and 49 pass deflections in four seasons.

The Rams have been aggressive in signing players to record-breaking contracts over the last two years.

Running back Todd Gurley signed a four-year, $40 million extension in July 2018 that included a record-breaking $45 million guaranteed. A month later, defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed a six-year, $135 million extension that amounted to the richest contract ever signed by a defensive player. Last September, quarterback Jared Goff signed a four-year, $134 million deal, that includes a record-breaking $110 million guaranteed.

The Rams, however, cut Gurley this offseason and also traded receiver Brandin Cooks, who was in the midst of a five-year, $81 million contract.

Gurley and Cooks’ contracts will cost the Rams nearly $30 million in dead money cap charges in 2020.

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Vince McMahon says he won’t try to buy back XFL in court filing

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XFL owner Vince McMahon said Tuesday that he will not attempt to buy back the league in bankruptcy court.

In a court filing, McMahon called accusations that he was secretly maneuvering to use Chapter 11 as an avenue to cheaply retain the XFL “inflammatory” and “unsubstantiated.”

The XFL filed for bankruptcy on April 13 in Delaware district court, three days after laying off nearly its entire staff, citing the unforeseen impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

McMahon then put the league up for sale, but the court’s committee of unsecured creditors claimed last week that McMahon had set up a “fire sale” bidding process that would rig the process in a way that would allow him to buy back the XFL without repaying its debts.

In a deposition footnoted in Tuesday’s filing, McMahon admitted that he had reserved his legal right to be a bidder in the original bankruptcy claim. He said he did that because “I think I was trying to make up my mind.” The committee’s filing last week pushed him to decide against a bid, he said.

“I don’t know why that’s out there, making me out to be the bad guy, [that] I’m going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically,” McMahon said in the deposition. “That helped me move into the direction of, ‘I’m not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it.’ I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive.”

In the filing, McMahon’s attorneys wrote that McMahon put in “at least” $200 million of his own money into the XFL.

“Accordingly, all that the committee has managed to do,” the attorneys wrote, “… is to chase away a potentially significant bidder for the debtor’s assets.”

The XFL has hired the Houlihan Lokey brokerage firm to handle the sale. According to the original schedule it established, letters of intent are due June 12. Final bids are due July 6, subject to approval by the bankruptcy court, in hopes of putting potential new owners in position to get the XFL back on the field in the spring of 2021 if desired.

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