The Falcons ended minicamp practice Tuesday and all appeared to be normal with Roddy White, which for him means playfully engaging reporters with his usual loquaciousness.
White mockingly asked and answered questions himself. He joked that the Falcons never let him throw a pass in a game in spite of the tight spirals he delivers in practice. White insisted he won’t be the star of the the HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks” when it chronicles the Falcons during training camp.
But then the subject turned to the shooting death of White’s brother, Tyrone Moore Jr., last month in South Carolina and White said he’s feeling the pain of that loss.
“It’s always hard for me to deal with,” White said in his first public comments since Moore’s death. “I think about him. Being the older brother in a single-parent home, you kind of raise your little brother and he’s always around you. (His death is) difficult because there’s always a piece of you missing, that’s gone. That’s been really frustrating for me.”
Moore, 21, suffered a fatal gunshot wound early on the morning of May 17 outside of a nightclub on James Island, S.C. Three days later Charleston County police arrested Darnell Lafayette and charged him with murder for allegedly walking up to Moore and shooting him twice.
Moore, White’s half-brother, once lived with White and attended Mill Creek High School near the Falcons’ facility. White went to James Island High School before going on to Alabama-Birmingham and then becoming Atlanta’s first-round pick in 2005.
In the aftermath of his brother’s death, White said teammates Julio Jones and Harry Douglas went to South Carolina to offer their support.
“It meant a lot,” White said. “We always treat you like family up here. Julio and Harry came down (and) they are like brothers to me. It was a real emotional time for me and for them to help me get through that was tremendous. And I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me to this point and just always still being there for me.
“We think about football (but) family always comes first in that circumstance. For those guys to be around and help me through this time it’s very, very special. There will always be a place in my heart that I keep those guys.”
White skipped the first two weeks of the Falcons’ organized team activities sessions while grieving for his brother. White participated in last week’s sessions but is being held out of the minicamp practices for what he and coach Mike Smith said are precautionary reasons.
White said Moore always will be in his thoughts.
“It’s important to remember him and do things that he would do,” White said. “He was a very happy guy, always smiling, charismatic. I just keep those things with me. I’ve got ton of pictures of him I keep at my house. He’s always going to be with me on and off the football field.”
‘Back to the old Julio’: Jones hasn’t participated in any offseason practices after he had foot surgery last October. Jones told CBS Sports.com that he broke a screw that had been inserted in in 2011 to repair a fracture, and that the latest procedure involved transferring bone marrow from his hip to his foot to promote healing.
After minicamp practice, Jones said he’s “feeling great.”
“I am back to the old Julio,” he said. “I feel like I am actually stronger now.”
Jones said he altered his weight training in an effort to protect the foot from further damage. He said he’s focusing more on strengthening his quadriceps and butt muscles “so I don’t put that amount of force and pressure on the outside of my foot.”
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