Originally created 09/25/96

Falcons try to get rid of George

SUWANEE, Ga. - Controversy continued to swirl around the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, as they re-signed Browning Nagle in the wake of Jeff George's one-game suspension.

Nagle, who shared the Falcons' No. 3 quarterback job with Perry Klein until both were released last month, will back up Bobby Hebert in Sunday's game at San Francisco.

Coach June Jones reiterated Tuesday that the team is trying to trade George, who blew up when Jones benched him in the third quarter of Sunday's night's 33-18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

"It's difficult to trade a player under these circumstances," Jones said Tuesday night, asked if a deal was in the works. "We're trying. We think it's in the best interest of both parties.

"I don't know what we'll do if we can't get something done."

The networks and national radio networks were abuzz with commentary about the controversy. On ESPN, former NFL quarterbacks Ron Jaworski and Joe Theismann took turns blasting George, with Jaworski calling him "a coach killer."

"Those guys aren't here and they don't know what's going on," Jones said. "I feel for Jeff on that part of it."

Falcons vice president for personnel Ken Herock, who handles trade negotiations, is on the West Coast on a scouting trip and presumably is contacting other teams from a hotel room.

Oakland has been mentioned as a possible destination for George because he played for Raiders coach Mike White at Illinois. But several other teams could be interested in a quarterback with George's physical ability.

Contrary to the notion that George is on the trade block because he has been unable to move the offense, Jones cited Sunday's confrontation as the primary reason for the disintegration of the player-coach relationship.

Asked if a reconciliation is possible, Jones said, "Yes, there's a chance, but I don't know if Jeff would want it at this point."

The Falcons released running back Lincoln Coleman to create a roster spot for Nagle, a six-year veteran with 14 starts who once passed for 366 yards against the Falcons as a New York Jet.

The team also released Burnell Roques from the practice squad in anticipation of signing a young running back.


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