ATLANTA, Ga. — Before the Atlanta Falcons grabbed a much needed win against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, the Alcovy Tigers football team, and senior standout, Quindrelin Hammonds took centerstage on the Mercedes Benz Stadium turf in a major way.
Hammonds, a senior standout for the Tigers this season — and a recipient of a football scholarship offer from Army — was named the Atlanta Falcons’ Power Player of the week, and because of that, Hammonds got the chance to run out onto the field with the team and several military servicemen while carrying an American flag.
Meanwhile, his Alcovy teammates, and coach Chris Edgar, were on the other end of the field holding up the Falcons’ team flag during pregame activities. And the way it all was orchestrated probably won the Falcons a fan for life in Edgar.
“Once I learned that Q had been selected for Power Player, I put it out there on social media to see if I could find a couple of tickets to the game,” Edgar said. “I just wanted to be in the stadium to see him get honored.”
Hammonds had been provided an allotment of tickets reserved for his family, and it was pretty late in the game for Edgar to score a ticket on his own, so he reached out to the Atlanta Falcons and shared his plight to see if they could cut him a deal.
“I just told them, ‘Hey, you know, my kid’s getting honored and I’d love to get in the stadium,’” Edgar said. “The rep with the Falcons told me, ‘I can’t do that. But if you can get 100 people to come with you, we can get you guys out to carry the Rise Up and Falcons flags.”
Edgar said he was given this information on the Monday before Sundays game and he had just a couple of days to follow up with the Falcons regarding the opportunity.
“So I got on it,” he said. “I got with sponsors and the kids and parents and some coaches and bus drivers and administration, and we got the 100 we needed, and we were able to get on the field, and it was just a great, cool event and time for our kids. We're forever grateful for the Falcons for what they did.”
And because of it, Edgar heaped praises on the local NFL franchise’s ongoing penchant for making great investment into the metro Atlanta sports community.
“The Falcons do such a great job of community outreach,” Edgar said. “They want to embrace all of Georgia and the people who support the Falcons. They do so much, like having practices at high school football stadiums and just anything they can to show that they care about this local sports community.”
Edgar said the opportunity opened the eyes of some of his players and, perhaps, even stoked some additional motivational fire for them as football players.
“For a lot of my guys, it was their first NFL game ever,” Edgar said. “So it wasn’t just great to be standing on the field. But during warm-ups (Dallas Cowboys receiver) Dez Bryant caught a pass in front of them, and then walked by and daps up a couple of our players. It was surreal for them to talk out into that gorgeous stadium and be on the field and near that logo.
“I just thinks it bolsters their dreams. Some of these kids have dreams of playing at this level, and most are dreams, but you never know. Being here could get them to work harder to get to that point.”
Beyond the opportunity to step out onto the field and be flag bearers, the team got treated to a pregame meal and got the chance to hear words of inspiration from one of Edgar’s personal NFL heroes, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. Johnson’s 14-year football career included stops with the Atlanta Falcons (1982-1987) as well as the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) and the Washington Redskins.
The event with Alcovy was a part of an even bigger day for the Falcons where they also honored Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) families and children. TAPS is a national charity that offers care to those grieving the loss of a military family member. With that honor happening on Veterans Day, Edgar said that part of the possible draw for selecting Hammonds as the Power Player on that day may have had to do with his being accepted to West Point.
Nevertheless, the richness in serving both the Alcovy football team and military families was not lost on Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn, who said that anything good that happens between the Falcons and the greater Atlanta community trickles down from the top of the Atlanta Falcons organization.
“It means quite a bit to me to be able to be involved with a franchise that believes in this,” Quinn said. “Just to have the leadership we have from (Falcons owner) Arthur (Blank), not only us, but this is something that’s shown through all his businesses. It’s that type of example, you know, we work here and look to him. We see his morals and values. We know what he stands for with community. It’s really clear.”