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Posted: 6:54 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

Theo Agnew has second practice with Falcons

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By Tanya Sichynsky, Erica Hernandez

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Theo Agnew went from serving lunch to children in a summer camp to playing alongside his idols in less than 24 hours.

The Massachusetts native was working as a summer camp counselor at Camp Courant in Connecticut when he received the call that would bring him back to Georgia.

“I was actually at work and we had just got done handing out lunches to the kids,” Agnew said. “And I got a call from a Georgia number and I’m like ‘Oh man, here we go again.’”

Coaches told Agnew on Friday to go home and pack immediately because they would be flying him down to Georgia that same day.

“I feel like I’m on cloud nine,” Agnew said on Satuday, his second day of practicing as a Falcon. “Just to be around a lot of these guys who I’ve been looking up to and trying to emulate myself after for years and now we’re in the same locker room.”

The Falcons invited the former Georgia State defensive tackle to tryout at the team’s rookie minicamp May 16-18. Come Aug. 2, he practiced as part of the team.

Agnew met fellow rookies Ra’ Shede Hageman, Nosa Eguae and Donte Rumph during rookie camp and those friendships have been pivotal in this quick transition, he said.

“They were here at rookie camp and they went to all the OTAs and they were here at the beginning of training camp so they’re kind of helping me along.” Agnew said

Head coach Mike Smith said his first impressions of Agnew since minicamp tryouts have been good.

“He looks like he’s in good shape,” Smith said. “He’s kept working at it and waiting for an opportunity.”

Agnew’s addition to the Falcons’ defensive line comes as a result of former first-round draft pick Peria Jerry’s sudden retirement after five years in the NFL.

“This is an opportunity for him, and I say this very often: One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity, Smith said. “He’s getting an opportunity now to come in and compete for some playing time.”

Like Jerry, Agnew wears No. 97.

But having spent some time away from football — albeit brief — Agnew will have to physically get up to speed with his new teammates.

“We’re going to have to bring him along slowly conditioning-wise just to see where he’s at,” Smith said. “Our goal is to have him be able to prepare to be able to contribute and play some snaps in the game against Miami.”

Agnew finished his two-year career at Georgia State with 124 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. He spent the first two seasons of his college career at Massachusetts.

“Coaches are trying to help me make progress,” Agnew said. “Telling me how to compartmentalize the playbook and to slowly handle this uphill battle.”

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