Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ben's Sports Take: Do you wanna see my Harry Douglas?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Douglas during his rookie season in 2008
  • Douglas during his rookie season in 2008

Despite their forgettable performance this past Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia, a 31-17 loss, the Atlanta Falcons should be contenders in the NFC South this season.

That is, of course, if Harry Douglas wants it that way.

The third-year wide receiver from Jonesboro sat out all of last year after suffering a torn ACL during preseason workouts, but returns this year as the most important player on the Falcons roster.

"I wanted to come back and play the way I left off or even better," Douglas said. "I focused on the little things more (during rehab) because when you're coming back from the injury, you gotta start with the little things and work up to the big things. Everything was a process and I was taking my time and making sure I was doing things the right way."

In Douglas' rookie season, the Falcons went 11-5 and made it to the postseason for the first time since 2004, but the following year, Atlanta was unable to make it back to the playoffs without the services of the former Louisville Cardinal.

Coincidence? Probably.

But Douglas' speed and deep play ability is something that the Falcons have lacked during Matt Ryan's reign under center and you can expect to see more and more of it as the 2010 season progresses.

Already in place for Atlanta is a solid rushing attack from Pro Bowler Michael Turner and Jason Snelling, a serviceable quarterback in Ryan, a Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez and the best possession receiver in the NFL in Roddy White.

Douglas' ability to stretch the field should make the Falcons offense unstoppable and no one is more excited about that opportunity than Douglas himself.

An Atlanta native, Douglas says that the best part about playing so close to home is being able to do so in front of his friends and family.

"I grew up a Falcon fan so being able to play for the team I watched growing up is always fun and it's great to be home here with my family so they can stay here and watch me also," he said. "Back in '98 I went to the Super Bowl when the Falcons played down in Miami.

"My dad took me and my brother and two of my cousins down there and my mom's actually from down there. The Falcons didn't win but it was just great being down there and watching the team I love."

Little did Douglas, then 14, know that one day he'd be playing for the team he loved after being drafted by the Falcons in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

"My mom had actually dreamed it and you know how you're like "Okay mom, whatever," but it came true so it was a blessing in disguise and I thank God every day for it," Douglas said. "Most people see it (playing close to home) as a distraction but with me I think it's more of a plus because I'm able to do a lot of things in the community where I grew up in Atlanta and in Jonesboro...just being back is wonderful, man."

Douglas had a mini-breakout game against the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month when he caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, but the Falcons will have to get this speedy receiver more involved if they want their offense to start clicking again.

I wonder if Mrs. Douglas has had any Super Bowl dreams lately?

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