After locking up the #1 seed in the NFC, home field advantage and reaching the NFC Championship game. It looked like the Atlanta Falcons had a team that could get them all the way, but needed to add a few more pieces for good measure. One key piece being Tony Gonzalez, was leaning heavily on retirement, but recently changed his mind. All seems well, right? Not exactly.
Now with the off season being here and free agency being 18 days away, the Atlanta Falcons are now reportedly planning to release 31 year old Michael Turner.
Michael “Burner” Turner has spent 5 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons after being drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, spent 4 seasons with the Bolts before heading to Atlanta in 2008.
Before leaving San Diego for Atlanta, Turner was a #2 back behind their #1 back at the time, LaDainian Tomlinson. In his 4 seasons with the Chargers and backing up Tomlinson, Turner rushed for 1,257 yards and 6 touchdowns.
In his first season with the Atlanta Falcons, Burner Turner broke loose and showed exactly what he was capable of. Now being a #1 back, Turner ran for a career high 1,699 rushing yards with another career high of 17 touchdowns. It was pretty safe to say that this 5’10 running back out of Northern Illinois could handle his business whenever he was handed the ball. After hitting the ground running and not looking back, Michael was selected to his 1st of 2 pro bowls since becoming an Atlanta Falcon.
Leading the NFC in rushing in back to back seasons (2010, 2011), Turner racked up 1,371 (2010) and 1,340 (2011) and reached double digit touchdowns in each season. Actually since becoming a Falcon, the 31 year old has recorded double digit rushing touchdowns in 5 straight seasons. In his possible last season with the Falcons, Michael (503) was splitting snaps with 2nd year pro Jacquizz Rodgers (502), over 1000 snaps between the two of them. It looks as if the Falcons are comfortable with Jacquizz Rodgers taking over as their #1 back as they move forward without Turner.
Turner was scheduled to make $6.9 million for this upcoming season. Career totals for Michael Turner as of 2012 are currently 7,338 rushing yards and 66 touchdowns.