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Dimitroff returns to New England

One of the off-the-field storylines of Sunday's highly anticipated matchup between the Patriots and Falcons is the presence of Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

Dimitroff worked for the Patriots from 2002-2007, first serving as a national scout before moving up to director of college scouting.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz wrote on Dimitroff earlier this week, with Dimitroff explaining his approach in building the Falcons with respect to the Patriots.

"I was very mindful when I left the Patriots of not going against the grain, jumping into their roster or their personnel department, talking to coaches or administration people and saying, 'Hey, come with me,'" Dimitroff told Schultz. "That was out of respect for Bill [Belichick] and Scott [Pioli] and ultimately the Krafts. It was more like, 'OK, I learned a lot. Let's go down there and set up shop. Let's take the principles I've learned there, but not the bodies and the minds."

On Thursday, the Associated Press also wrote on Dimitroff's return to town.

"If anything, for me, it's more about us going in there and proving that we can compete at a high level," Dimitroff said. "For us, it's going to be sort of playing the benchmark organization and seeing how we fare against a historic program."