Three years ago, Takk McKinley had one of the most memorable NFL Draft interviews in history. When the Atlanta Falcons made the UCLA defensive end the 26th overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft, McKinley brought a framed photo of his grandmother onto the stage and spoke passionately about the deathbed promise he made to her that he would get to the NFL someday.
At the time, it seemed Takk McKinley couldn't have been more thrilled to be a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
Three years later, Takk McKinley wanted to get away from the Atlanta Falcons so badly that he went on Twitter and publicly admitted he'd requested to be traded multiple times, exposed that the Falcons had turned down multiple trade offers for him, then he appeared to refer to the franchise as clowns.
While the Atlanta Falcons let the 2020 NFL trade deadline pass without dealing McKinley, on Monday he finally got what he wanted when the team waived him.
McKinley hasn't produced what the Falcons expected when they used a first-round pick on the talented pass rusher. He's recorded 17.5 sacks in three-plus seasons. along with 45 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 79 tackles. This season, he had just one sack in four games and missed time with injuries.
NFL Free Agency: Atlanta Falcons waive disgruntled first-round pick
The Atlanta Falcons are trying to climb out of an 0-5 start to the season and didn't need any negativity in the locker room. After firing head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, they've won three of their last four games to move their record to 3-6. They're still a longshot to make the NFC playoffs.
Quinn and Dimitroff's exits could've been a fresh start for McKinley, but he apparently remained disgruntled under interim head coach Raheem Morris.
McKinley should get picked up soon enough. He just turned 25 years old a week ago. He still has the potential to be the kind of pass rusher who wreaks havoc in backfields like he did in college -- the pass rusher the Atlanta Falcons thought they were getting in the 2017 draft.
Teams that are rumored to be interested in McKinley are the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos.Published 10 Nov 2020, 13:27 IST