SUWANEE, Ga. - Atlanta Falcon Ray Buchanan participated in a chat on the National Football League's Web site dealing with high school sports this week, and the often-flamboyant cornerback said most of his professional success came from things he learned at Chicago's Proviso East High.
When asked about the most important value he learned in high school, Buchanan said it was developing an attitude to never quit.
"Not just in football, but in life," Buchanan said. "I learned to persevere through bad times because eventually something good is going to happen, although it's probably not going to happen when I want or expect it to occur.
"I also learned a lot of discipline. When you start putting all those things together, you start taking those things off the field as well."
Buchanan also told high school students that he regrets not taking school more seriously.
"I had problems in that I did not take school seriously enough," he said. "Eventually, I found out through other people that I had an opportunity to go play college ball (at Louisville) and would need to buckle down with my studies.
"It wasn't that I wasn't smart enough; I just never applied myself. However, once I started to apply myself during my senior year, my grades and my ACT score just popped up. I had waited a little bit late to start applying myself, but fortunately, it wasn't too late."
SMITH EARNS HONORS:
Defensive end Chuck Smith, who had three sacks in last week's 27-20 win over Carolina, was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Smith also had six tackles, two quarterback pressures and one forced fumble.
The award marked the third time in Smith's eight-year career he's been the league's top defensive player.
Injuries to guards Gene Williams (ankle) and Greg Bishop (knee) forced the Falcons to sign Evan Pilgram.
"I can't see (Williams) making enough progress over this next weekend where he would be a factor," Falcons coach Dan Reeves said. "I think he has a possibility of being ready with the bye week for our following game. If we didn't have that bye week (next week), I don't think he'd be ready to play."
Bob Hallen will play in Bishop's place, and Calvin Collins will work in Williams' spot. Hallen started the first six games of the year, while Collins was a starter last year.
Getting the offensive line in sync is important because Jacksonville likes to blitz on defense.
Atlanta is still 29th in the National Football League in rushing with a 74 yards per game average, but the Falcons are 13th in passing at 213.5 yards a game. ... Jacksonville is No. 1 in rushing (140.4) and 18th in passing (196). ... Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, as is cornerback Elijah Williams (knee). Officially, Bishop is listed as doubtful, and Williams is out. Under league guidelines, probable means there's a 75 percent chance a player will play; questionable is a 50-50 proposition, and doubtful means there's only a 25 percent chance a player will play.
Reach Don Coble at email@example.com.