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Former Falcon dies playing flag football

Former Falcon dies playing flag football

CHICAGO -- Arena Football League player Chandler Williams has died. He was 27.

The AFL said Sunday that Williams died while playing in a local flag football tournament in South Florida. The league did not release a cause of death.

The wide receiver was a seventh-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2007 out of Florida International. He got into NFL preseason games in four seasons but never played in a regular-season game, also spending time with the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs. Williams also played for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

He caught 83 passes for 996 yards and 17 touchdowns while leading the AFL with a 23-yard kickoff return average for the Tampa Bay Storm last season.

Storm President Derrick Brooks says "we are shocked and saddened."

He is survived by his fiancee, Vanitia Harrigan, and a daughter, Tori Williams.

Shop with a Jock takes kids on Falcons shopping spree

Shop with a Jock takes kids on Falcons shopping spree

ATLANTA -- Forty kids from the Odyssey Villas apartments in Vine City get a chance to go on a shopping spree this week with some of their football heroes.

The Shop with a Jock program pairs Atlanta Falcons players, including tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Julio Jones, with disadvantaged children for a Christmas shopping trip to Walmart.

The Walmart on Lawrenceville Suwanee Road in Suwanee has agreed to host the Shop with a Jock kids at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Participating children are selected through Odyssey Villas' Action Ministries Atlanta program.

RELATED | Action Ministries, 11Alive feed 400 kids

120 teams to play in Nike Cup soccer tournament

120 teams to play in Nike Cup soccer tournament

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- A portion of the Nike Cup soccer tournament will be played in Hall County, at the Allen Creek Soccer Complex on December 2 - 3.

Held by the Norcross Soccer Association, around 120 teams of boys and girls ages 9 -12 will compete in 17 different divisions over the two-day tournament. According to a Hall County official, 197 games will include teams from Florida, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina and Alabama.

For more information, contact Mike Little, Director of Hall County Parks and Leisure Services at (770) 535-8280.

8-1 Falcons show they're not resting on success

8-1 Falcons show they're not resting on success

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- They sound like idle words, even for a team with the NFL's best record.

Everyone is being evaluated on a weekly basis. No one's job is safe. If someone isn't performing up to expectations, they can be replaced.

Well, the Atlanta Falcons weren't kidding.

The Falcons, who suffered their first loss last week but are still cruising at 8-1, made a bold move this week when they dumped defensive end Ray Edwards. He signed a big-money deal just last year but had done little to justify his contract.

While it might have been convenient to let Edwards languish on the bench, coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff went in a different direction. For everyone else, it was a wakeup call - don't get complacent.

Falcons a perfect 5-0 on West Coast under Smith

Falcons a perfect 5-0 on West Coast under Smith

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Mike Smith credits the Falcons' success on the west coast to the performance of his players, not his travel schedule.

Even so, Smith isn't about to mess with a winning formula.

That means Friday was a travel day for the Falcons. Smith led a light practice, packed up his team and headed to the Atlanta airport for an afternoon flight to San Diego - two days before Sunday's game against the Chargers.

The extra travel day has paid off for the Falcons, who are 5-0 on the west coast in Smith's five seasons.

Smith's Falcons, 2-0 in Seattle, also have won at San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego.

Smith says he copied the travel plan used by former Ravens coach Brian Billick. Smith worked on Billick's staff from 1999-2002.

Run a Halloween race

Run a Halloween race

ATLANTA -- Fall is in the air, Halloween candy has begun to grace grocery store shelves and it's time to start training for a spooky race.

Several metro Atlanta 5Ks, 10Ks and more carry Halloween themes during this time of year. Here is a list of some of the area's fall runs.

(There is also still time to register for many of the upcoming Christmas and holiday runs in the Atlanta area! Check Active and Run Georgia year-round for more races.)

Falcons' Julio Jones looking to shine in Year 2

Falcons' Julio Jones looking to shine in Year 2

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Julio Jones is still drawing double-takes over his new hairstyle.

Gone are his trademark dreadlocks, cut off and donated to charity. Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith says he didn't even recognize the receiver the first time he saw him with his shorter locks this summer.

Of course, the Falcons are more concerned about what Jones does with a helmet on his head. From all indications, this could be a breakout year for a guy who had a solid rookie season but, in some people's eyes, didn't quite live up to the lofty expectations.

Jones is definitely more comfortable in the Falcons' system. Last year, he was thrown right into the mix after the lockout and spent much of his time just trying to figure out what was going on.