Fine me later! Atlanta’s new pass rusher is a passionate athlete

Published 5:49 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

I already am a fan of the Falcon’s newest player Takkarist McKinley.

McKinley was drafted 26th overall by Atlanta Thursday night in the first round of the NFL draft. Boy, oh, boy, did he make it a spectacle.

The former UCLA Bruin walked on stage, and I immediately knew he was going to be a vibrant character. In his hands was a portrait of a woman, who he revealed to be his grandma.

Email newsletter signup

Everything was for her, he said.

On his grandma’s deathbed, a high school version of McKinley told her he would get out of Oakland, California. He would play Division 1 football. He would get drafted and play in the NFL. She died 30 seconds later, he said.

As for the promises? Check, check, and check.

McKinley explained that story with a few other bursts of profanity on live television, and was so enthusiastic and passionate about the next stage of his career, he had to be calmed down by a couple different media personalities.

“Fine me later!” McKinley shouted to the camera.

I love it. He isn’t even under contract yet, and he’s welcoming fines. Whether he does get fined or not is irrelevant. What matters is the Falcons have a pass rusher who cares.

How do I know he cares?

“Get after the quarterback!” was another random explosion McKinley made during an interview. This young man hasn’t even sniffed an NFL field yet and he’s already shouting mantras. Yes, yes, yes! What a character, and what a great player the Falcons now have.

A pass rusher would have been a huge help in the Super Bowl, particularly on those last few Patriots drives where

Atlanta’s defense looked absolutely gassed. Tom Brady pulled off some of his voodoo, but I think a little more pressure from the edge would have made a difference, and who knows, maybe resulted in a turnover that changed the course of the game.

But I’m not here to spout shoulda, woulda, couldas.

I’m just here to celebrate McKinley fulfilling his promise to his grandma. Here’s to a great 2017 season, and I hope his grandma is smiling down on him.

Welcome to the Brotherhood, McKinley.