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Atlanta succeeds in courtship of CB Robinson
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ATLANTA — Falcons owner Arthur Blank took the same approach with Dunta Robinson that he used two years ago on Michael Turner.

Welcome to Atlanta, your first and final stop as an unrestricted agent.

"I was brought in on Mr. Blank's private jet," Robinson said Monday, "and I was sold from that point on."
Robinson, considered by many as the most sought-after cornerback in free agency, left the Houston Texans to sign a six-year, $57 million contract with Atlanta.

Approximately $22.5 million is guaranteed, though Robinson suggested the Falcons offered more than a big payday.

"This is something I've always dreamed about growing up in Athens, Ga.," Robinson said. "This was the first professional team that I wanted to play for. I'm home. This is where I need to be. Here is where I'm most comfortable."

Blank, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith courted Turner in similar fashion before he signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal with $15 million guaranteed in early March 2009.

"We want to create an environment where a player really wants to be here, not because of the contract, but because ... of our culture, our coaching staff and the resources we make available," Blank said. "It's a credit to our organization that whom we would argue was the top cornerback available this year in free agency made only one stop."

Just as Turner enforced Atlanta's rushing attack as the NFL's second-leading rusher two years ago, the Falcons hope Robinson steadies a secondary that includes three young cornerbacks in Christopher Owens, Brent Grimes and Chevis Jackson and two young strong safeties in Thomas DeCoud and William Moore.

Free safety Erik Coleman will play his seventh season in 2010, cornerback Brian Williams, who signed a new one-year contract last week, will be playing his ninth season. Veteran cornerback Tye Hill is still on the roster, too.

Robinson and Williams are likely to open mini-camp in May as the starting corners. Smith indicated that Robinson will be used similarly to the role he had in Houston: jamming the opponent's No. 1 receiver at the line of scrimmage before dropping into coverage.

In the first year under Smith and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, Atlanta played mostly zone coverage. The Falcons mixed up their schemes to be less predictable last year, but they finished as the 28th-ranked in pass defense.
Dimitroff loves Robinson's fast, physical style of play.

"He has an uncanny ability, in our minds, to take the ball out and make plays on the ball," Dimitroff said. "He is very, very confident, and I'm sure you'll notice by the way he carries himself, an element of swagger we are definitely looking for with this football team."

Robinson, who has 13 career interceptions, sounded Monday as if he's ready to start training camp.

After Smith espoused his ability to tackle, the coach said he was looking forward to the "DBs and receivers mixing it up in practice."

Robinson quickly interrupted.

"I agree," he said.

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