Originally created 06/11/02

Falcons notebook



FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- New receiver Jeff Graham was a no-show as the Atlanta Falcons opened their voluntary passing camp Monday.

Ron Hill, the Falcons' vice president of football operations, insists the team is not concerned that Graham has yet to make an appearance since signing as a free agent from San Diego April 26.

"He just has some things he's working out," Hill said. "We're not worried about Jeff. He's a veteran player." Graham's name was listed in a federal search warrant, unsealed May 16 at a U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio, that's part of the government's case against Joe L. Wright and Graham's sister, Carolyn Graham.

Wright and Carolyn Graham each pleaded innocent following their indictments in the largest cocaine seizure in Dayton history. They were arrested for possession and intent to distribute over 100 pounds of pure cocaine. If convicted, Wright and Carolyn Graham could face life in prison.

Jeff Graham, who has not been charged with a crime, has declined to comment on the situation. His attorney, Kenneth Lawson, held a press conference May 18 in front of the receiver's Dayton home, claiming Graham was named in the search warrant because of a lawsuit he filed April 8 against Montgomery County sheriff Dave Vore.

Graham believes he was a victim of racial profiling when deputies arrested him in January for allegedly carrying a concealed weapon. Though Vore's office did not charge him, Graham felt he was treated unfairly.

"I talked with Jeff Saturday," said first-year receivers coach Mike Johnson, who worked alongside Graham the last two seasons in San Diego. "He told me he might not be here. I'm expecting him to be here soon."

Graham averaged 895.3 yards and 54.6 receptions in his last three years with the Chargers. He will compete for playing time with starters Brian Finneran and Shawn Jefferson.

ALSO MISSING: Head coach Dan Reeves, who is on a family vacation, did not attend Monday's workout. Finneran, cornerback Ashley Ambrose and long snapper Derek Rackley were also absent. All three have regularly attended the team's offseason conditioning program that began April 2.

According to the NFL's agreement with the Players Association, teams are allowed only one mandatory session before they officially open training camp. The Falcons' first mandatory workout is July 10, when they begin a three-day mini-camp at team headquarters.

Training camp opens July 25 in Greenville, S.C., at Furman University.

ON TARGET: Michael Vick appeared to be in midseason form. The second-year quarterback, preparing for his first season as a starter, would've completed all of his passes if not for two dropped balls.

"I had two incompletions," Vick said. "I wanted to be perfect, but that's close."

IN THE HOUSE: Monday marked the first time Vick has worked simultaneously with both Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. Dunn signed as a free agent running back from Tampa Bay in March. The Falcons chose Duckett, the feature runner at Michigan State the last three years, with the No. 18 overall draft pick.

Dunn, who signed a six-year, $28.5 million contract, suffered from turf toe and hamstring injuries last year that limited him to career lows of 447 yards rushing and 2.6 yards per carry. Monday was the first time this offseason that he's run in cleats.

"The foot felt great," Dunn said. "Now it's just a matter of picking up the offense."



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