Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, a former East Tennessee State linebacker, spoke at ETSU's graduation Saturday. (NET News Service photo)
JOHNSON CITY — One of the topics in Mike Smith’s speech for East Tennessee State graduates Saturday was adapting to change, and the Atlanta Falcons coach is doing a great deal of it after getting within 10 yards of the Super Bowl.
Smith, a record-setting ETSU linebacker who was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame last week, has steered the Falcons toward the top of the NFL after taking over an organization tarnished in 2007 by the predictably quick exit of coach Bobby Petrino and the shocking downfall of quarterback Michael Vick.
But keeping pace won’t be easy. Atlanta released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson for salary cap reasons, and ended up losing three of the top five cornerbacks.
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