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Ex Falcons assistant Bobby Turner named finalist for Dr. Z award

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) smiles as he talks with assistant coach Bobby Turner during a practice at the University of Washington Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in Seattle. Rather than head home, the team traveled directly to Seattle after a football game Sunday in Denver, ahead of playing the Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) smiles as he talks with assistant coach Bobby Turner during a practice at the University of Washington Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in Seattle. Rather than head home, the team traveled directly to Seattle after a football game Sunday in Denver, ahead of playing the Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Former Falcons running backs coach Bobby Turner, who was with the team from 2015-16, is a finalist for the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach in the NFL by the Pro Football Writers of America.

With the Falcons, Turner coached running back Devonta Freeman to amass 1,634 yards and 1,541 yards in 2015 and 2016, both totals combined rushing and receiving, his most productive seasons in the NFL.

Turner is set to enter his 25th season as a NFL assistant coach in 2020, and his fourth as San Francisco’s running backs coach.

Turner is responsible for overseeing three of the top nine rookie rushing seasons in the NFL since 1970, with Alfred Morris (a sixth-round pick), Clinton Portis and Mike Anderson. He also served as running backs coach with the Falcons (2015-16), Washington (2010-14) and Denver (1995-2009).

In Denver, he worked with Broncos running backs, including Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Anderson and Portis, among others, and the franchise was in the NFL’s top five in rushing during 10 of his 15 seasons there.

He has coached in four Super Bowls with three franchises (Denver, the Falcons, San Francisco) and has a pair of victories with the Broncos.

Two winners will be selected from the group of eight nominees, which also includes Floyd Peters, Bill Arnsparger, Buddy Ryan, Romeo Crennel, Dick Hoak, Rod Marinelli and Bobb McKittrick.

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