ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 01: Thomas Dimitroff, general manager for the Atlanta Falcons, speaks to his assistant general manager, Scott Pioli, prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome on November 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Assistant general manager Scott Pioli leaves the Falcons 

Second high-profile move on team’s personnel side 

Scott Pioli, who’s been with the Falcons as the assistant general manager for the past five seasons, elected to leave the team, the Falcons announced Thursday.

“We understand and respect the decision Scott, (his wife) Dallas and their family have come to today and wish them nothing but the best,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Over the last five years Scott has not only provided tremendous value to me, but to the entire the Falcons organization.”

After a draft that’s been heavily criticized, Pioli’s departure is the second high-profile move on the personnel evaluation side of the organization. 

In a roundup of draft report cards of national writers by footballoutsiders.com, the Falcons received the third lowest grade, just ahead of Houston and the New York Giants. 

Shepley Heard, a longtime Falcons scout, was promoted to director of pro personnel on May 3. Joel Collier was demoted to national scout from the director of pro personnel position.

Pioli, 54, formerly was the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs and is a close friend of Dimitroff, dating to their days working with the Cleveland Browns in the early 1990s and through their days with the New England Patriots.  

“After careful consideration and ongoing dialogue with Thomas over the past year I have decided to step away from my position as the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons to pursue other potential opportunities,” Pioli said. “I want to thank both Arthur and Thomas for bringing my family and I here in 2014.”

Piolie was the Chiefs’ general manager from 2009 to 2012.

“When I accepted this position more than five years ago, we all believed this would likely be a two- or three-year working relationship,” Pioli said. “I came in to work closely with Thomas on personnel structure, processes and decisions. I loved the concept, was confident I could provide value and have enjoyed the challenge.”

Before the Chiefs, Pioli was with the Patriots from 2000 to 2008. Dimitroff was with the Patriots from 2002 until 2008, when he was named the Falcons’ general manager.

He was named The Sporting News’ executive of the decade (2000s).

“Now, after more than five years with the Falcons, I am ready for a change,” Pioli said. “I want to thank all of my co-workers at Flowery Branch as it has truly been an honor to be a part of this organization and I am thankful to have been a part of this football team and the Falcons family.”

Pioli will immediately be linked to the vacant general manager position with the New York Jets, where coach Adam Gase has been named the interim general manager. 

Pioli will deliver commencement remarks at Central Connecticut State University on Saturday in Hartford, Conn.

Pioli will be the featured speaker during the 3 p.m. ceremony where the School of Business and School of Education & Professional Studies degrees will be presented. 

Pioli, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at CCSU in 1988, will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 

Over Pioli’s 26-year NFL career, he was with the Patriots for three Super Bowl wins in a four-year period. He was vice president of player personnel. His leadership extends well beyond the gridiron as an advocate for education, equality, and the arts through his involvement in a number of philanthropic and community initiatives. 

As the first member of his family to pursue higher education, Pioli founded a number of scholarships geared toward first-generation college students. He and his family also created endowed funds with Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation for women who aspire to be football coaches or scouts and a Historically Black Colleges and Universities scholarship for members of Women 

He serves on the Board of Directors for the Black College Football Hall of Fame; Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality; Women’s Sports Foundation, The Alliance Theater, Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City; and College for Every Student (CFES), a nonprofit that helps underserved youth prepare for and succeed in higher education.

After serving as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-12 he joined the Falcons in 2014.

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