FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Garrett Scantling took a different track to the NFL.
"It's different," Scantling confirms.
Literally. Scantling ran track for UGA. He never played a down of football for the Bulldogs. Instead, he immersed himself in track and field.
"I did the decathlon. That's 10 events over two days," Scantling said. "I was a really good javelin thrower. That's probably the only event that I really miss."
A four-time first team All-American, Scantling did enough to catch head coach Dan Quinn's eye at the team's local tryout. They signed him as a free agent.
"For a guy that's over 220 pounds with that kind of speed, we're encouraged after a few days - encouraged enough to want to find out some more as we're going through [rookie camp]," Quinn said.
The last time Scantling played football, he was in high school. Two days into rookie camp, he's learning the game all over again.
"There's nobody in your way in track, ever. It's always in a straight line. Here you have to get in and out of your breaks. Behind people, in front of people. That's probably one of the toughest things that I'm getting used to."
There is a precedent for non-college football players signing in the NFL. The Patriots signed a wrestler, Stephen Neal. The 49ers signed a rugby player, Jarryd Hayne. The Chiefs signed a track and field star Tautvydas Kieras, to name a few.
Now it's Scantling's turn to crack the receiving corps in the Falcons' “brotherhood.”
"I just want to earn whatever I get. I just want to be a part of the brotherhood, follow DQ, do whatever he wants me to do, and adapt and evolve as an Atlanta Falcon," Scantling said
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