Kirk Cousins ​​says the Falcons' appeal is the long-term vision for him

Flowery Branch, Ga. — Dressed in a light gray suit with a red tie and black sneakers, Kirk Cousins ​​took the stage Wednesday evening to illustrate and reinforce what he was saying as he settled into his new home.

The Atlanta metro area has long been a familiar place for the new Atlanta Falcons quarterback and his family. His wife Julie grew up here. He has spent parts of the holidays at his father-in-law's basement in Johns Creek, Georgia.

So when the opportunity to come to Atlanta came up — and it matched a strong passion for football — he took it. Immediately after signing a four-year contract worth $180 million, he explained that what he bought from Atlanta was what he sold when he left Minnesota.

“I think it's been somewhat year-to-year the last two seasons in Minnesota,” Cousins ​​said. “When we talked to Atalanta, it felt like a place where if I played at the level I expected, I could retire to a Falcon.

“That's something that really excited me, that's definitely the goal and you have to earn the right to do it.”

Relatives knew he wanted to win. Before he can think too much about winning, he needs to get healthy. Cousins ​​continues to recover from a torn right Achilles suffered in October, the 35-year-old's first career surgery. He called the rehab a “really positive process,” and the Vikings coaching staff and his own coaches helped him through the first few months after surgery.

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By the end of Atlanta's June mandatory minicamp, Cousins ​​said he “felt great” and set a goal to be at full speed in practice. Now, Cousins ​​said he can “take drops” and throw the ball well, but if he steps out of the pocket, it's clear he's still recovering from an injury.

When he returns, Atlanta hopes he'll be the player he's been for most of his career. He has played in 150 games with 145 starts, completing 66.9% of his passes for 39,471 yards, 270 touchdowns and 110 interceptions over six years in Washington, followed by six years in Minnesota.

The former fourth-round pick made Pro Bowls in three of his last five seasons — and was on pace for one of the best seasons of his career before an Achilles injury in 2023.

Earlier on Wednesday, Relatives have released a video Thanks to the Vikings and the people of Minneapolis/St. Paul called it “a bit of a bittersweet day” because he had to leave the Vikings.

Atlanta felt like a familiar place. Convenient location. He and Julie were married in Roswell, Georgia. Their youngest son was born in Atlanta. Cousins ​​and Julie's first date was in Stone Mountain, an Atlanta suburb. Off the field, it made sense.

Inside the organization, Cousins ​​was struck by the alignment he saw from team owner Arthur Blank, general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Raheem Morris.

“When you look at Mr. Blank's dedication to winning and what he's done over the years to make the Falcons a premier organization. When you look at the players that Terry has produced, when you look at his experience with the Saints and what they've built up so many of. The years and the success that he's been around,” Cousins ​​said. “And then I got to know Rahim, what he did, what he did, what he did, the people he led and the people he worked with spoke so highly of them, I mean, the evidence just piled up. This is some serious alignment here.”

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Cousins ​​knew Morris from their shared time in Washington and recalled Morris, then the defensive backs coach, walking down the hall into huddles of quarterbacks — an image that stuck with him. He called former Saints quarterback Drew Brees about Fontenot, whom Brees worked with for more than a decade in New Orleans.

“I think it's been trending year-to-year the last two seasons in Minnesota. When we talked to Atlanta, it was a place where I could play as much as I could if I played at the level I expected. Retire a Falcon. That's something that really excited me, and that's definitely the goal, and you have the right to do that. to earn.”

Kirk Cousins

Cousins ​​said Brees was “raving about him, about his football knowledge.”

Then a few weeks ago, he got a text from an unknown number while waiting in line for the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at EPCOT. The sender was Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts, who first recognized Cousins ​​at the Pro Bowl following the 2021 season.

“He said, 'We're ready for you to take us to the promised land,'” Cousins ​​said. “I said, 'Okay, let's talk.'” It's like he's recruiting a little bit.”

Relatives don't need upselling. He saw Pitts' abilities and what kind of player he could be. In the last few days since he agreed to the deal, he spoke with receiver Drake London and was impressed with running back Bejon Robinson.

After those conversations, he told Julie, “These guys are sharp.” He understood how badly they wanted to win. The last time Atlanta was a consistent winner he attended.

In the 2016 season, when Cousins ​​went to playoff games at the Georgia Dome, they beat Seattle and Green Bay — a streak he wants to emulate.

“Watch those games and take that moment,” Cousins ​​said. “It's really my goal to relive that moment here as a player.

“That's really the dream.”

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