Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner has been in the news ever since the Falcons ended their season last year. In case anyone forgot, they were demolished by the eventual Superbowl Champs New York Giants, 24-2. Two times during that game, Matt Ryan called his own number on 4th-and-short and came up...short.
Many wondered why Michael Turner wasn’t given the ball?
As expected, the team responded with answers like "it was our best option," "we did what we had to do" and "we ran the play that was called."
Then the offseason comes and people start talking about how Michael Turner is getting old and he will be splitting time with Jacquizz Rodgers.
Not exactly the best way for a player who, statistically, had his third-best year of his eight-year career to start a vacation.
However, that’s exactly what Michael Turner had to do.
I recently had the chance to get Michael Turner on the phone and asked him what he had been up to during the offseason, especially since it seemed like he stayed under the radar immediately after the loss.
After a brief hiatus from the spotlight, he came out in late July and hosted a surprise bake sale at the Gimme Some Suga Bakery Bar in Suwanee, Ga. When asked about the bake sale, Turner said, "A portion of all proceeds from the bake sale will benefit the Atlanta Division of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. I have two brothers who have suffered with Crohn’s disease, and I’ve seen how it can adversely impact somebody’s life.” He continued, “I wanted to do something that the fans wouldn't expect from me.”
He also hooked up with a company called ClickN Kids, which creates innovative digital programs to teach kids how to read. “I know the people that started the company and I think it’s a great concept for kids to get them learning. We're going to donate subscriptions of the software to the schools and kids in the Atlanta and North Chicago area. I'll also be making some surprise visits to elementary schools throughout the year.”
In between all this, he found the time to get pranked (very well, I might add!) by LaMarr Woodley on the YouTube channel The Noc. If you haven’t seen it, check it out above!
Hilarious, right!? I asked Turner that with the season in full swing, will he wait for his opportunity to get back at Woodley for the next offseason? His reply: “Anytime. Any place. Anywhere.” I believe that’s a warning Woodley!
As my attention drifted towards the 2012 season, I asked him the question everyone wants to know. How do you feel about everyone calling you old?
“One person or one outlet says one thing and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. No one can tell me how I'm feeling. I'll let my numbers do all the talking.”
Which if you look at them, they are pretty impressive: No. 1 rusher in the NFC last year, 4.5 yard average per carry and 62 first downs.
The kicker is that he touched the ball 301 times last year for 1,340 yards. The year before, he was handed the rock 334 times for 1,371 yards. Less carries and yet he earned a higher average yard per carry.
That doesn't sound like someone who is aging. It sounds like someone who is using his experience to be a more proficient running back and opening the field more.
The Falcons are projected to compete for the division crown. If Turner has the same kind of year he had last year and with the high-power offense of Roddy White and Julio Jones, this team will be very dangerous.