Falcons cornerback (24) Domonique Foxworth gets a hoist from fans after breaking up a 4th down pass to Rams wide receiver (17) Donnie Avery to take over on downs securing a 31-27 victory Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Cover 9@9: Foxworth sheds some light on his pivotal 2008 season

During his brief stay (one season) with the team, he started 10 of 14 regular-season games after he was acquired in a trade with Denver just before the start of the season. He also started in the wild-card playoff game against the Cardinals.

He writes about the problems that players face in the high-end risk-and-reward business of professional football. 

He was drafted in the third round by Denver, but was traded to the Falcons in his contract year. A solid season led to the financial security that most players seek. 

However, the road along the way was bumpy, and he lays that out in the article. He tells of D’Qwell Jackson’s story and how he realized the perils of pro football. He duly noted that the average median career of Pro Football Players is just over three years and most players don’t find the financial security or that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Foxworth hit his low point with the Falcons. After he was torched in practice by wide receiver Roddy White, Foxworth went to a bookstore and purchased the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) book. 

Foxworth, who’d been traded for a conditional third-round pick, thought his career was over and he would get ready for grad school.

He rebounded and took over at left cornerback after Brent Grimes suffered a knee injury. 

Foxworth was a thoughtful player and a great interview during that tough season, just a year after the Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino lost season. 

In this July 25, 2011 photo, Domonique Foxworth of the Baltimore Ravens, center, speaks during a news conference at the NFL Players Association in Washington after the NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously to end a lockout. Today, Foxworth is a former NFL cornerback and a Harvard Business School graduate. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Here’s a portion of a Nov. 11, 2008 article from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Flowery Branch --- When Domonique Foxworth takes the field today, many emotions will be swirling through his body.

The Falcons cornerback will be facing his former team in the Denver Broncos.

But there is more --- much more.

He was heavily invested in the Denver community, a key member in the team's secondary and a tireless supporter of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center.

The center is a tribute to his friend, a teammate and fellow cornerback slain in a drive-by shooting on New Year's Day 2007. It's part of the Broncos' affiliation with the Boys & Girls Club Of America.

"What really made me feel good was when we completed the teen center," said Foxworth, traded to the Falcons before the season. "I felt like some lives would be saved as a result of Darrent losing his."

Both Foxworth and Williams were drafted in 2005 by the Broncos and soon became good friends. They bonded after becoming rookie starters for two games.

Williams' death hit Foxworth, his teammates and the community hard.

Last month, the Denver police indicted Willie D. Clark on first-degree murder charges in the Williams killing. The arrest of Clark brought closure to some, but Foxworth had already mentally moved on. The opening of the teen center in May was therapy enough.

"That's none of my concern," Foxworth said. "It didn't matter to me. Whatever you do in this life, you have to face your ultimate judgment at some point."

… After Williams' death, Foxworth found solace in working with the children at the Boys & Girls Club in one of Denver's challenged communities.

"I was at the Boys & Girls Club every week in season and out of season," Foxworth said. "Those kids, I still email some of those kids. More than anything, I look forward to when the season is finally over. I'm going to go back and see them. Those are things that you can't replace. You can't replace those relationships."

Foxworth, who graduated from Maryland in three and half years with a degree in American studies, held weekly writing workshops and encouraged other Broncos to work with the children.

They chose to support the Boys & Girls Club because Williams was the product of a single-parent home and spent a lot of time growing up at the club in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

"You can't force that type of feeling or that type of connection with the community," Foxworth said.

In Foxworth’s article, he also thanked safeties Lawyer Milloy and Erik Coleman for helping him learn the defense.

Foxworth, who needed to have a good season on a good team, also gave praise to running back Michael Turner and quarterback Matt Ryan as the Falcons went 11-5 and made the playoffs with a rookie quarterback. 

Without his time with the Falcons, he never would have received the $27.2 million contract from Baltimore and built his parents a home, nor would he have been able to set things up for his children.

(Psst, there also was something about postgame trips to Magic City in there, but that’s not really important.) 

2. Fashion show to help Big Brothers Big Sisters: The Falcons and Atlanta United were scheduled to team up to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta with an upscale fashion show Tuesday at Saks Fifth Avenue in Phipps Plaza. 

Falcons who were set to participate included guard Jamon Brown, cornerback Isaiah Oliver, linebacker Foye Oluokun, defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, quarterback Kurt Benkert and guard Adam Gettis. Freddie the Falcon and Falcons cheerleaders also were scheduled to be on hand.

3. Mandatory minicamp: The Falcons’ mandatory minicamp is set for June 11-13. The team is expecting all of the players who sat out the voluntary OTAs — wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive end Vic Beasley, defensive Grady Jarrett and linebacker Deion Jones — to attend.

Beasley told ESPN that he planned to attend. 

Any NFL player under contract who skips all three days is subject to an $88,650 fine, but there isn't a contractual obligation to practice, only to attend.

4. Jarrett fundraiser. Jarrett is hosting his second annual Golf Charity Event to raise funds for Greg Street’s “We Need 2 Read” program and an Anti-Bullying initiative June 6 at Top Golf Atlanta. 

He also has his football and cheerleading camp Saturday in Rockdale County High.  Registration is required for the camp.

5. Final open OTA session. The final open OTA workout will be at noon Thursday, and coach Dan Quinn and requested players will address the media afterward.

6. Quinn on Cominsky. Falcons coach Dan Quinn did a film review of fourth-round pick John Cominisky, and he likes his size and length. Quinn shows him coming out of the stack to make plays outside of the pocket. 

7. Falcons’ salary cap. After the June 1 adjustments, the Falcons are listed as having $307,560 under the salary cap by the NFLPA documents June 4. They haven’t added in the $6.45 million saved by the Ryan Schraeder release.

8. Roster move: The Falcons signed safety Jason Thompson to get back to the 90-man roster limit Monday. 

Safety Afolabi Laguda, who signed a two-year contract in April, was  waived by the Falcons on Saturday .

Johnson, 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, wasn’t drafted after playing in college at Wyoming and Utah. He has spent time with the Patriots, Seahawks, Cowboys and Titans.

Laguda played at Colorado with Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver, who’s slated to take over at right cornerback for Robert Alford. 

Laguda, who is 6-1 and 214 pounds, signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent last season. He played at Brookwood High. He started his career at Butler (Kan.) Community College before playing at Colorado.

9. Depth chart. With strong safety Keanu Neal (knee) and free safety Ricardo Allen (Achilles) out rehabbing from their injuries, J.J. Wilcox and Chris Cooper have been lining up with the first team defense. 

Wilcox, who played at Georgia Southern, was selected in the third round (80th overall) of the 2013 draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

He played with the Colts and the Jets last season.

Wilcox has played in 77 NFL games and made 39 starts. 

He played for Dallas from 2013-16. He was with Pittsburgh in 2017.

Cooper, who played at Stony Brook in New York, was signed by the Colts after going undrafted in 2018. He has spent time with the Bengals and Chiefs. 

Offense

WR 11 Julio Jones, 14, Justin Hardy, 83 Russell Gage, 13 Christian Blake, 16 Shawn Bane 
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 73 Matt Gono, 75 John Wetzel, 69 Lanard Bonner, 65 Jaelin Robinson 
LG 77 James Carpenter, 60 Adam Gettis
C 51 Alex Mack, 71 Wes Schweitzer 61 Chandler Miller
RG 68 Jamon Brown, 63 Chris Lindstrom, 64 Sean Harlow 
RT 74 Ty Sambrailo, 76 Kaleb McGary, 67 Devon Johnson
TE 81 Austin Hooper, 88 Luke Stocker, 82 Logan Paulsen, 85 Eric Saubert, 87 Jaeden Graham, 89 Alex Gray 
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 18 Calvin Ridley, 15 Devin Gray, 19 Kahlil Lewis, 7 C.J. Worton, 17 Olamide Zaccheaus 
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub, 6 Kurt Benkert
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 25 Ito Smith, 23 Brian Hill, 32 Qadree Ollison, 38 Kenjon Barner, 30 Tony Brooks-James, 43 Marcus Green 
FB 30 Ricky Ortiz, 88 Luke Stocker

Defense

DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 91 Chris Odom
DT 95 Jack Crawford, 96 Tyeler Davison, 94 Deadrin Senat, 50 John Cominsky, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 93 Michael Bennett, 79 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner 
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 79 Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, 92 Justin Zimmer 
DE 98 Takk McKinley, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 50 John Cominsky
WLB 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 42 Duke Riley, 52 Yurik Bethune 
MLB 45 Deion Jones, 55 Bruce Carter, 49 Tre Crawford, 46 Del’Shawn Phillips 
SLB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 53 Jermaine Grace, 48 Durrant Miles 
CB 26 Isaiah Oliver, 33 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, 23 Jayson Stanley 
NCB 27 Damontae Kazee, 28 Jordan Miller 
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 39 Taveze Calhoun, 20 Kendall Sheffield, 32 Rashard Causey

FS 37 Ricardo Allen, 34 Chris Cooper, 41 Sharrod Neasman, 35 Jason Thompson, 43 Parker Baldwin 
SS 22 Keanu Neal, 37 J.J. Wilcox, 40 Ryan Neal 

Specialists

K 4 Giorgio Tavecchio
KO 5 Matt Bosher 
P 5 Matt Bosher 
KR 38 Kenjon Barner, 18 Calvin Ridley
PR 14 Justin Hardy, 43 Marcus Green, 38 Kenjon Barner 
LS 47 Josh Harris, 48 Kyle Vasey
H 5 Matt Bosher

---

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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