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Former NFL safety Easterling dies at 62

Former NFL safety Easterling dies at 62

ATLANTA (AP) - Former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling has died. He was 62.

Mary Ann Easterling said her husband died on Thursday. He was one of seven former players who filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia in August over the league's handling of concussion-related injuries, the first potential class-action lawsuit of its kind.

PHOTOS | Notable deaths in 2012

Easterling played for the Falcons from 1972 to 1979 and was the centerpiece of the team's "Gritz Blitz" defense in 1977 that set an NFL record for fewest points allowed in a season.

Easterling's wife said he went on to start a successful financial services company in Richmond, Va. But she said he suffered from insomnia, depression and other mental issues from the repeated hits.

Richmond Police have ruled the death a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound. 


Earth Day weekend events

ATLANTA -- Half a million people are expected to pour into metro Atlanta for several festivals this weekend.

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However, the possibility of severe weather has organizers keeping their eyes on the sky.

Falcons 2012 regular season schedule released

ATLANTA -- The National Football League released the 2012 regular season schedule for all NFL teams Tuesday evening.

The Dirty Birds open the season with a match-up against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 9 at Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri. 

The season opener is followed by the Falcons' first Monday night game, which is a match-up against the Denver Broncos and their all-star quarterback Peyton Manning at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 17. 

Rain clogs morning commutes

ATLANTA -- The much-needed rain that soaked metro Atlanta Wednesday morning caused several problems on local roads.

11Alive meteorologist Chesley McNeil says the rain should continue through mid-morning.

RELATED | 11Alive Traffic Jam
11Alive Weather

Bartow County

A tractor trailer ran off the road on northbound I-75 near the Main Street exit. The Georgia Department of Transportation reported a diesel fuel leak and damage to a guardrail in this accident. The highway has since reopened.

Cobb County

Cobb County officials report slow-moving water on southbound I-75 at the ramp to eastbound I-285.

DeKalb County

Ga. high school students take longer to earn diplomas

ATLANTA -- A new method of calculating graduation rates reveals that more high school students are dropping out than had been previously counted and some of them are taking five or even six years to earn a diploma.

According to reports the new formula was released last week. It shows that Georgia's 2011 graduation rate dropped 13 percentage points using the calculation, to 67.4 percent.

RELATED | Compare graduation rates by school

Chick-fil-A to host mother-son 'Date Knight'

Chick-fil-A to host mother-son 'Date Knight'

ATLANTA -- All of the Chick-fil-A restaurants in metro Atlanta will host a special mother-son Date Knight on Saturday, Apr. 28.

The Date Knight format will be similar to that of the franchise's massively popular Daddy-Daughter Date Nights. It will give mothers and sons a special chance to enjoy some quality time together.

The event will have a medieval theme, hence the "Knight" part of its title.

"One of Chick-fil-A's goals is to promote community connections and enrich the lives of everyone we come in contact with," Robin Lomax, Chick-fil-A area marketing director, said in a statement. "We understand the importance of mother-son relationships and want to encourage local moms to come to Chick-fil-A, enjoy their sons' company over a meal and have fun."

Father and son drown at Lake Lanier

GAINESVILLE-A 40-year-old father and his 14-year-old son drowned in Lake Lanier at Mountain View Park, off of Browns Bridge road.

Forsyth county Fire Department divers recovered their bodies just after 9 p.m. Saturday night. 

According to Hall county sheriff spokesman,Sergeant Stephen Wilbanks, the preliminary investigation indicates that the 14-year-old was attempting to swim across a cove when he became distressed. The father attempted to come to his aid, both swimmers went under and did not resurface.