At the NFL trade deadline in October, Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley saw the social media posts. So many tweets.
Multiple teams called the Falcons looking to see if the franchise, which had already agreed to Beasley’s fifth-year $12.8 million option, were interested in trading the former All-Pro defensive end, according to NFL media.
“It’s whatever, you know,” Beasley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before practice on Wednesday. “I feel like that’s on coach (Dan) Quinn. That’s on a higher power other than me. I just try to control what I can control.”
Beasley tried to not pay much attention to the abundant trade talk.
“I heard it mentioned,” Beasley said. “I heard a little bit about it. I just try to zoom focus on trying to help this team win games. Just try to put my best effort on the field.”
Beasley, who returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Ravens on Sunday, has three sacks this season. He had four sacks as a rookie in 2015 after being the eighth overall pick.
In 2016, Beasley, in what was thought to be a breakout year, Beasley had 15.5 sacks. He was named to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro.
In 2017, while splitting time between linebacker and defensive end, he had 5.0 sacks.
With the defense missing three key starters for most of this season, the unit has been shaky.
Beasley wants to remain with the Falcons and believes a long-term contract will take care of itself.
“I’m just trying to be the best player that I can be and all of that will take care of itself, for sure,” Beasley said.
The Falcons would like to see Beasley be more consistent.
“One part is, again, you have to stop the run in order to get to the passer,” defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel said. “The opportunity to rush the passer when it (happens), yes he has to be ready to go. But we have to do a great job of stopping the run and being in the situation of second-and-9, third-and-7. ... His consistency and energy that he brings every day is needed.”
Beasley, who was a running back in high school, flashed his big play ability against the Ravens. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who played at Clemson with Beasley, forced a fumble. Beasley scooped up the ball, made a move to get around Ravens running back Kenny Dixon and stuck his hand out before going to ground. He gathered his balance and went on to score from 74 yards out.
Beasley picked up three blocks along the way.
“He did look like a running back,”Quinn said. “The change of direction, maybe a little tight end to him. So he’s got good hands, we know the athlete that he is.”
Quinn liked that the rest of the unit was downfield blocking.
“You know what I was really proud on that play, was the strain you saw from some of the guys trying to get blocks down the field and just to name a few I think it was (Jordan) Richards, (Takk) McKinley, (Brian) Poole and (Deion) Jones,” Quinn said. “There were others, but it was like they weren’t going to back off that play.”
Jarrett got particular enjoyment from the play.
“It was one of my favorite plays of my career,” Jarrett said. “Me and Vic have been playing for a long time and to force that and do that together it was pretty cool.”
Poole was glad to help out.
“I was able to contribute a little by throwing a block,” Poole said. “As you could see, Vic did most of the work.”
Poole didn’t know that Beasley was a former running back.
“But during the run, I could tell that he was,” Poole said.
After rushing for nearly 1,000 yard as a senior at Adairsville High, Clemson signed Beasley as an athlete. He started out at tight end before eventually moving to defensive end.
In what has been a tough season, the touchdown scamper was a beam of sunshine.
“It was just an awesome play, see ball, get ball,” Beasley said. “Grady and Takk made an awesome play on the quarterback and got the ball out. Coach Quinn always preaches pick the ball up and score and get in the end zone and put some points on the board.”
Near the end of the run, Beasley started to run out of steam.
“Yeah man, I was kind of tired,” Beasley said. “But just being a running back, going back to my high school days, I played a little bit on the offensive side of the ball. I just had to bring that back into play.”
After the touchdown, Beasley attempted a dunk over the goal post. He was trying to redeemed himself from a failed dunk attempt after a similar touchdown against the Rams in 2016. The result was marginal.
“It wasn’t Tony Gonzalez,” Beasley said. “I was just trying to redeem myself from L.A.”
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