Falcons players on Arthur Smith firing: ‘We didn’t win enough ball games to keep his job.’

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons returned to team headquarters in Flowery Branch on Monday after another disappointing end to a season.

The Falcons lost to the Saints, missed the playoffs and finished 7-10 for the third straight year. Not seeing the improvement they wanted, the Falcons fired head coach Arthur Smith just after midnight.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo caught up with Falcons players in Flowery Branch Monday morning as they cleaned out their lockers.

Some of the guys said they were surprised by the news of Smith’s firing. A few didn’t find out the news until they woke up in the morning. Others said they understood it was a business decision but were hopeful that he would return.

Calais Campbell told Mastrangelo that Smith was on the Falcons campus early on Monday and held a final team meeting. He wanted to talk to the players in person one last time.

“It just sucks because we didn’t win enough ball games to keep his job. I think he is a really good coach, but you never know,” Campbell said.


Several guys also mentioned that Smith told them that he would always be there for them. It’s something that the players appreciated.

“Forget about football. That’s my guy. He knows I got a great love and respect and it’s reciprocated. That doesn’t go unnoticed,” tight end Jonnu Smith said.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank is expected to hold a news conference late Monday afternoon to discuss the team’s next steps in the coaching search.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]