FLOWERY BRANCH — Just in time for Matt Ryan, the pride of Boston College, to become the Atlanta Falcons’ new hope at quarterback, former Falcons star Jessie Tuggle showed up at minicamp on Saturday wearing a Boston College cap.
It turns out Tuggle’s choice of cap came before the Falcons made Ryan the No. 3 overall pick in last month’s NFL draft.
Tuggle’s son, Justin, signed with Boston College as a heavily recruited quarterback from Northview High School.
The way Jessie Tuggle sees it, the Ryan draft pick completed a perfect circle — especially if Justin can take over for Ryan with the Eagles.
“It’s funny how things work out,” said Tuggle, a Falcons linebacker from 1987-2000.
“Georgia to Boston is a long way, but Justin loved the campus and it’s a good fit.”
Tuggle, who played at Valdosta State, says he’s already a Boston College fan.
“Justin committed early, so we saw a ton of games last season,” Tuggle said. “They had an incredible season.”
Brown faced with difficult challenge
Rookie running back Thomas Brown, a sixth-round pick from Georgia, may face a difficult challenge to win a roster spot on a team that added free-agent signee Michael Turner. Jerrious Norwood and Jason Snelling also return at running back.
“I’m going to try to get on every special team and try to compete for a backup running back spot,” Brown said.
Brown (5-8, 204) returned kickoffs at Georgia. He said the step up in talent was obvious from his first practice snap with the Falcons.
“The speed and athleticism is just totally different from college,” he said. “Everybody can run, everybody can move. That’s one thing you’ve got to get used to.”
Weiner, Lewis out
Offensive tackle Todd Weiner and defensive tackle Trey Lewis are recovering from knee injuries and have not been cleared to practice.
With Weiner still out, the first-team offensive tackles were Quinn Ojinnaka and Tyson Clabo. Rookie Sam Baker played behind Ojinnaka at left tackle.
Linebacker Michael Boley, charged with battery following an altercation with his wife earlier this month, was on the field for the workout, but only after a meeting with coach Mike Smith.
“I have spoken to Michael,” Smith said.
“I just want everybody to know I am disappointed and we’re disappointed Michael was in that situation.”
The opening day of the minicamp came one week after Boley, 25, was arrested at his Dacula home and charged with misdemeanor battery after his wife, Chantelle, told authorities he “became physical” with her.
Boley, who was cleared to practice after offseason ankle surgery, ranked second on the team with 125 tackles in 2007.
Hundreds show up to watch practice
The atmosphere more closely resembled training camp than a normal minicamp. Smith opened the first two days to fans.
“It was very nice,” Smith said. “When we made the decision to open it to the public, we really didn’t know if it was going to be 2 or 200 or 2000.”