Falcons cut disgruntled former 1st-round pick Takk McKinley after trade-deadline drama

·3 min read

The Atlanta Falcons released former first-round draft pick Takk McKinley, the team announced Monday.

The 25-year-old was in his fourth season with the Falcons after they selected him with the No. 26 pick out of UCLA in the 2017 NFL draft. The decision to cut McKinley arrives after last week’s drama-filled trade deadline passed without the Falcons dealing the disgruntled defensive end.

McKinley chastised Falcons on Twitter

Last Monday — a day before the NFL trade deadline — McKinley tweeted that the Falcons had turned down multiple offers and did not intend to deal him.

After Tuesday’s trade deadline passed without McKinley being dealt, he once again tweeted about the Falcons turning down multiple trade offers over the course of two seasons. This tweet was accompanied by clown emojis.

Falcons fined McKinley, vowed accountability

Following that tweet, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Falcons had fined McKinley for his social media posts. It also reported that McKinley’s claims about trade offers were “false.”

Per the AJC report:

Although the Falcons spoke with other teams about McKinley before Tuesday’s deadline, the compensation never reached an acceptable amount to make a potential trade.

Interim head coach Raheem Morris also addressed McKinley’s tweets last week, telling reporters that McKinley “will be held accountable.”

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley (98) sits on the bench during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Atlanta. Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley is with a family member in Oakland after undergoing a mental evaluation prompted by a friend’s call to Los Angeles police. Falcons spokesman Brian Cearns told The Associated Press McKinley “is in a good spot” and has been in “constant communication” with the team, including coach Dan Quinn. Cearns said McKinley is with an uncle in Oakland.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
After repeatedly complaining on Twitter around last week's trade deadline, Takk McKinley is no longer a Falcon. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

“The wrong way to go about it is definitely the way Takk is handling it now with a pout,” Morris said on Wednesday. "So, as soon as we get an opportunity to talk to him about those things and how he’s handling that situation, that will be the first and foremost thing you handle first. ...

“We’ll move forward, and we’ll move forward swiftly, and we’ll move on accordingly. But right now, the one thing I do know is he won’t be able to help us for the Denver Broncos.”

Falcons cite McKinley’s complaints

McKinley, who has been hampered by a lingering groin injury this season, did not play in Sunday’s 34-27 win over the Broncos.

And now he has been cut. The Falcons cited McKinley’s public criticism of the team in announcing his release.

“The defensive end also recently publicly criticized the Falcons on Twitter following the trade deadline, claiming he had requested to be traded to another team,” the team statement reads. “After McKinley made the comments, interim head coach Raheem Morris said the team would hold him accountable.”

McKinley failed to live up to his first-round draft status over three-plus seasons in Atlanta and never emerged as the disruptive backfield presence the Falcons had banked on. He tallied 17.5 career sacks and 22 tackles for loss in 49 games, including 25 starts.

‘Fine me later’

He’s perhaps best known for dropping an F bomb on live TV during an impassioned draft-night interview with NFL Network’s Deion Sanders.

The Falcons had previously declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

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