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LB leads Falcons’ workouts

POSTED: May 11, 2011 10:07 a.m.

CUMMING — During the brief lifting of the NFL lockout, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Coy Wire got plenty of encouragement from coach Mike Smith.
Wire also heard plenty of frustration in Smith’s voice, but their phone conversation inspired the Falcons’ representative to the NFL Players Association to provide some unity for his teammates.
“He was highly upset by the whole situation because he wants to take this organization places and he’s handcuffed right now like we all are,” Wire said Monday. “He was highly aggravated that if a lockout was implemented again that we wouldn’t be able to find a way to meet as a team.”
That team-wide meeting never took place after a federal appeals court restored the lockout not long after Wire and Smith spoke.
So Wire, a nine-year league veteran, resumed his role of organizing player workouts and keeping teammates informed on labor developments with phone calls, emails and text messages.
Wire feels added leadership responsibilities after spending 2010 as the Falcons’ special-teams captain in 2010 and signing a new two-year contract in early February.
“If we have an opportunity to help the team grow stronger and more closely knit, I’m going to make it happen,” Wire said. “Right now, we have to find a way to make it happen on our own, so I just felt it to be part of my responsibility and privilege to get the guys together.”
Once the lockout began more than nine weeks ago, Wire started organizing workouts overseen by his trainer, Jim Launer of Ignite sports training, and held 30 minutes west of the Falcons’ complex at High Intensity Training Center. Launer runs two 90-minute shifts four mornings per week, and as many as 25 players report each day.
Among those routinely joining Wire are linebacker Curtis Lofton, cornerback Brent Grimes, defensive end Kroy Biermann, fullback Ovie Mughelli, guard Harvey Dahl and defensive back Brian Williams.
Wire’s goal is to have better participation — NFL rosters consist of 53 players during the season and more than 80 at the start of training camp — but he understands that many teammates have their own agendas.
“I usually train in the offseason in Indianapolis, but once it looked like we were headed for some labor issues in the winter, I decided to stay here instead and train with Mr. Wire,” Biermann said. “It’s good being with your teammates. We need to spend time together to replicate what’s usually going on this time of year.”
There’s a chance quarterback Matt Ryan might be planning on-field workouts soon at an area Atlanta high school. Though Ryan hasn’t attended the sessions in Cumming, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon tweeted recently that Ryan is trying to organize 7-on-7 drills.
The Falcons, who earned a No. 1 playoff seed last year before getting blown out by eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay, have missed the start of voluntary conditioning in late March and a mandatory mini-camp.

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