Atlanta Falcons

How Ex-Patriot Asante Samuel once made a young Deshaun Watson's day

How Ex-Patriot Asante Samuel once made a young Deshaun Watson's day

Before leading Clemson to a national championship and becoming the franchise quarterback of the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson was a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons.

As a high-schooler, Watson's job included picking up balls during practice, taking care of equipment, and folding towels. It was more exciting than it sounds, especially considering Watson's notable experience with a former Patriot.

Ex-Pats cornerback Asante Samuel, who played in Atlanta in 2012 and 2013, forgot his mouthpiece in his locker and asked Watson to retrieve it. Watson obliged, and Samuel asked him to meet him after practice.

"I went to his locker after practice,” Watson told ESPN, “and he pulled out his Louis (Vuitton) bag and pulled out a whole stack of money, and he gave me like $1,000, just to go get his mouthpiece. He didn’t have to give me anything, but he did.”

An incredibly kind gesture by the two-time Super Bowl champion.

Watson is enjoying another productive season thus far in his third year in the league. The 24-year-old has the Texans at 2-2 heading into Week 5.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Danny Etling reportedly picked up off waivers by Atlanta Falcons

Danny Etling reportedly picked up off waivers by Atlanta Falcons

One day after being waived by the New England Patriots, Danny Etling will get another shot at making an NFL roster.

The Atlanta Falcons claimed Etling off waivers on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

Etling attempted a transition from quarterback to wide receiver during Patriots training camp, but the experiment ultimately didn't work out. Now there's a chance for the 25-year-old to give QB another shot as the Falcons could use another signal-caller on the depth chart.

The Patriots released Etling to make room for newly-acquired tight end Eric Saubert, who formerly played in Atlanta.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Falcons coach explains what allowed Atlanta to make trade with Patriots

Falcons coach explains what allowed Atlanta to make trade with Patriots

The Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots are in two different situations with regards to the tight end position.

The Patriots tried to improve their tight end situation by acquiring Eric Saubert from Atlanta via trade in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick Monday. Saubert caught five passes for 48 yards and zero touchdowns for the Falcons in 2018.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn explained to reporters following the trade about what made the deal possible from Atlanta's perspective.

The Falcons have plenty of tight end depth and a clear No. 1 player atop their positional chart in Austin Hooper, who tallied 71 receptions for 660 yards and four touchdowns last season. Backup tight end Luke Stocker signed a two-year contract with the Falcons in March and was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded tight end in the AFC South division last season. 

The Patriots, meanwhile, lack quality depth at tight end and and don't yet have a suitable replacement(s) for the recently retired Rob Gronkowski. New England signed veteran tight end Benjamin Watson in May, but he's suspended for the first four games of the 2019 regular season due to a failed drug test. Matt LaCosse entered training camp as the leading candidate to be the No. 1 tight end for Week 1, but he suffered an apparent leg injury in the first preseason game against the Detroit Lions and didn't practice Monday.

Tight end could be one of the biggest weaknesses for the Pats in 2019 after it was a huge strength for the franchise over the last decade. The dropoff from Gronkowski to New England's current group of tight ends is pretty steep.

Get ready for fantasy football with our 2019 draft kit>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.