Garrett Scantling on ‘chance of a lifetime’ with Falcons

Garrett Scantling during the Spec Towns National Team Invitational track meet at the Spec Towns Track Field  on Thursday April 10, 2014 in Athens, Ga.  (Photo by John Kelley)

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Garrett Scantling during the Spec Towns National Team Invitational track meet at the Spec Towns Track Field on Thursday April 10, 2014 in Athens, Ga. (Photo by John Kelley)

Former All-American and UGA track and field star Garrett Scantling doesn’t plan on taking the chance the Atlanta Falcons gave him on Monday for granted.

The Falcons signed Scantling as a free agent on Monday with hopes of turning the decathlete from Jacksonville, Fla. into a wide receiver.

“This is truly a chance of a lifetime,” Scantling said. “I have gone through the most unorthodox path to get to here and I can’t wait to go out there and show everybody what ‘football me’ can do.”

During his senior season as a wide receiver at Jacksonville's Episcopal High School, Scantling caught 66 passes for over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. Scantling participated in Jacksonville University's Pro Day in March.

“I am glad we ‘stole’ him away from football, but I feel his training as a decathlete sharpened his physical skills and I am happy Falcons’ coach Dan Quinn could see this,” Scantling’s former Georgia track and field coach Petros Kyprianou said. “This move does not surprise me as I know Garrett as an athlete and his athleticism can help him excel at any sport. The NFL is an entirely different game, but he has been through the decathlon at the Olympic Trials level. I don’t think it gets tougher than that since those guys have 10 grueling events to train for.”

In an Instagram picture posted on Monday from the Falcons’ Flowery Branch practice facility, Scantling wrote that signing with the Falcons was a “dream come true.”

The Falcons were not alone with hopes of turning a former track and field star from the SEC into a wide receiver. The Seattle Seahawks signed former LSU track star Cyril Grayson on Monday.