Originally created 06/20/03

ABC samples tackle's humor



FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Leave it to Bob Whitfield to have the final word.

An Atlanta Falcon since 1992 and the team's longest-tenured player, Whitfield learned how to talk smack as a youngster in Los Angeles long before he played his first football game. He's also one of the funniest players in the locker room.

So it's no surprise the 6-foot-5, 310-pound left tackle was eager to film a spot for the Monday Night Football crew Thursday morning at the team complex.

When ABC broadcasters Al Michaels and John Madden introduce the Atlanta starters at the start of an Oct. 13 game at St. Louis, players will state their name and college - everyone except Whitfield.

"Bob Whitfield, old school player from the Himalayas," he said as he looked at the camera.

The Monday Night crew filmed similar spots with the starters in January when ABC was preparing for the Falcons' wild-card visit to Green Bay.

Whitfield, who played three years at Stanford, insists he has good relations with his former school, but that doesn't mean he was willing to cooperate.

"I told them I was Bob Whitfield, son of Eartha," he said. "She's my mother. I came from her. I didn't come from Stanford. I spent three years at that school, not my entire life."

Atlanta hasn't appeared on Monday Night Football since Jan. 3, 2000, when the 4-11 Falcons beat the 4-11 San Francisco 49ers at a half-filled Georgia Dome.

Since ABC debuted Monday Night Football in 1970, the Falcons are 6-17, including a 1-9 mark on the road.

ON THE AIR: Chances are good that Jeff Hullinger and Jeff Van Note will return for their sixth consecutive season together as the Falcons' radio broadcast team.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported June 6 that Van Note, a Falcons center from 1969-86 and a radio personality since he retired, likely would be dropped and that former Atlanta quarterback David Archer was in line to replace him.

A team official confirmed Thursday that Van Note, a fan favorite and a six-time member of the NFC Pro Bowl squad, has been asked to stay for 2003.

Archer's status is unclear.

Infinity Broadcasting, which owns Atlanta FM radio staples Z-93 and V-103, signed a multi-year contract in March to host the Falcons Radio Network.

Z-93 will be the flagship station. The team announced Wednesday that its AM affiliate in Atlanta will be 790 the Zone.

NICE TURNOUT: Thursday marked the biggest fan turnout of the voluntary passing camp. Approximately 300 fans watched the indoor workout. The camp runs every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday through July 1 and is open to the public and free of charge.

ZEROING IN: Bryan Scott, a second-round draft pick from Penn State, was on the wrong end of Michael Vick's 50-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Farris, but the rookie cornerback thinks he's making good progress.

Scott likes his chances of earning playing timebehind right-side starter Tyrone Williams.

"That's my goal," Scott said. "And right now you can't worry about the depth of all things. You just have to take it day by day and everything will fall into place."