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David Jones Jun 14

LOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he has talked to seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney,Kevin Dodd Jersey, just not about re-signing with the team.

During a recent interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio,Kevin Byard Jersey, the 37-year-old Freeney said he was in talks with the Falcons regarding a return. He said the line communication was open and the Falcons were "very interested" in bringing him back.

Quinn didn’t rule out re-signing the veteran, the defensive end from UCLA, to reach out to Freeney for advice, but he put more context behind the story. Quinn confirmed the team encouraged first-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley, which already occurred. But Quinn did not talk to Freeney about a role on roster.

"I know he was pretty committed to golf, he’s such a competitor, that was someone I wanted [Freeney] to connect with. But we haven’t talked about playing. If he does [want to return], "but our conversations haven’t been about playing. When we drafted [McKinley]," Quinn said of Freeney, he knows I’m going down the line of looking at our team here.’’

Quinn obviously wants to see what he has in his current pass-rush group first, a group led by 2016 NFL sacks leader Vic Beasley Jr. The Falcons drafted McKinley to rush off the opposite edge of Beasley. McKinley currently is rehabbing from shoulder surgery but is expected to be ready by the start of the season.

The Falcons also get Adrian Clayborn back from biceps surgery to rush off the edge, plus another player in Brooks Reed capable of lining up outside. Then the Falcons have some versatile defensive linemen capable of moving around in Grady Jarrett,Jack Conklin Jersey,Austin Johnson Jersey, and Courtney Upshaw -- not to mention the addition of two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe, Derrick Shelby,Derrick Henry Jersey, newcomer Jack Crawford, a guy Quinn believes has untapped potential as an interior rusher.

At this juncture, Freeney appears to be more of an emergency backup plan. McKinley’s status off the shoulder surgery remains somewhat unclear, which could be reason to keep Freeney’s number handy.

Quinn said he is likely to have another conversation with Freeney soon.

"I don’t know where he’s at on [playing], it would still be," Quinn said. "If we get down to that spot where we talk about it, 'I’m really focused on the guys here.'"

Quinn was asked if a final decision on Freeney could be made by the start of training camp in late July.

"I don't know," he said. "I’ll probably talk to him first and see where his mind's at. I don’t want to answer yet, but it’s somehow becoming a story. So I’ll reach out to him and see where it’s at."

Freeney signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Falcons last August and was instrumental in mentoring Beasley. He played in 15 regular-season games and finished with three sacks in 399 defensive snaps played. Freeney played in all three postseason games,Authentic Jack Conklin Jersey,Authentic Kevin Dodd Jersey,Authentic Austin Johnson Jersey,Authentic Derrick Henry Jersey,Authentic Kevin Byard Jersey, starting the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship Game. He was hampered by a quadriceps tear suffered in a Week 7 loss to San Diego.