Veteran linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, who’s been with seven teams over his eight years in the NFL, moved back to Georgia in January.
Two months later, he was re-signing with the Falcons, where he played during the Super Bowl season of 2016 and 2017.
He took a break from working out in his garage in the Gwinnett County area to discuss his return to the team.
“The timing was perfect,” Reynolds said Thursday on a conference call with local reporters. “I didn’t have to go anywhere. I didn’t have relocate. … I just take it as a blessing because I could have been anywhere like the last two years.
“Just to be able to be here again and feel like I’m home, it’s just a great feeling. It feels like I’m where I need to be.”
Reynolds, 29, has played in 99 NFL games and made seven starts. The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder played with the Eagles in 2018 and the Bengals last season.
Reynolds, who played at Virginia, broke into the league with the Jaguars in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. He has also played for the Bears.
He had his best season in 2016 during the Falcons’ march to Super Bowl LI. He had a career-high 30 tackles and made three starts. He played one play from scrimmage and 23 on special teams in the Super Bowl.
“Right now I’m just spending time focusing on my family, spending time with my daughter,” Reynolds said. “Working out when I can in my garage and meeting up with other guys that play around the league and working out. … That’s been pretty much how I’ve been spending my time.”
The Falcons will count on Reynolds to provide a veteran presence and find ball carriers on special teams.
“The truth is God and just that inner being of being an underdog,” Reynolds said when describing where he gets his tireless work ethic. “Working my whole life just to compete at a high level. I think I’ve been that way since little league.
“I love playing football. I love the game of football. The passion I display is transparent through me. It’s everything that I stand for.”
The Falcons are hoping that Reynolds’ energy is an inspiration to others.
“All of those things, I put on my back and I use them for my good,” Reynolds said. “That’s where my energy comes from, I try and draw it from my inner source and just find it in me and use it to motivate others.”
While with other teams, Reynolds has picked up a few lessons in leadership since leaving the Falcons.
“When I was in Philadelphia I was around Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Chris Long … guys who have a veteran presence and set a great example,” Reynolds said. “We’d just have great conversations. I’d just learn more so on how to lead. How to be a veteran.”
Last summer, before landing with the Bengals he spent time in San Francisco with the 49ers.
“I was around Richard Sherman and (saw) how he came to work every day,” Reynolds said. “Just that level of professionalism and being around really good players that have played for a long time, knowing that hard work and coming to work every day and leading men and motivating others, still exists and is needed in this league.”
Reynolds is familiar with defensive end/linebacker Dante Fowler, who agreed to terms with the Falcons.
“Dante’s first year was my third year in Jacksonville,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got a good relationship. We’ve been close over the years. It’s going to be great to reconnect with him, feed off of his energy, feed off of his juice and allow that to spread throughout the team.”
Reynolds also is using the time away from the facilities as best he can. The first phase of the Falcons’ offseason was set to start April 19, before operations were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can get it in,” Reynolds said. “We can put in work where ever we are. I think a lot of guys, that’s how they were brought up. Most of us grew up with a weight room in our garage. This is a time to get back to our roots.”
Reynolds might not be one of the Falcons’ higher-profile signings, but he’s elated to be back with the team.
“It’s always great to be somewhere where you’re wanted and also where people know you,” Reynolds said. “They know your personality. People know your face and people believe in you.
“I think that’s the greatest aspect of playing in this league, I’ve been able to be blessed with (Falcons coach Dan Quinn). He’s been believing in me for some years now, coach Brick (Jeff Ulbrich) as well. Those guys took a chance and (gave me) another opportunity to bring me back in the building. I’m grateful for those guys. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
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