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Falcons get full squad on field

8/4/2011

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- For the first time this training camp, the Atlanta Falcons had their full team on the practice field Thursday night.

Guys like defensive end Ray Edwards, tackle Tyson Clabo and cornerback Brent Grimes, who were hung up in post-lockout limbo, were in pads and practicing. The Falcons had seven players who were unable to practice until the new labor agreement was fully ratified. That didn’t happen until late Thursday afternoon and the Falcons pushed back the start of practice several times in hopes they’d get everyone on the field.

“We pushed it back because we felt like it would give us a better chance of having everybody out here,’’ coach Mike Smith said. “We wanted to get them some work before we practice at Norcross High School (in a Friday night scrimmage)’’.

Smith emphasized that the Falcons will continue to “ease’’ those seven players into practice work because of the time they missed. But the Falcons at least got a first real look at Edwards, whom they signed away from Minnesota. They also got Grimes back on the field after he signed his $2.6 million tender as a restricted free agent.

“It was good to get out here and do what I love to do,’’ Grimes said. “That’s play football. The whole goal was to come back here.’’