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Atlanta Falcons to star on Hard Knocks

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They may have lost Tony Gonzalez to retirement but the Atlanta Falcons will at least get one good thing out of the off-season, for the first time in the show's eight-year run, the Falcons will be the featured team on Hard Knocks.

The series is set to start on August 5 on HBO, and Matt Ryan and co. will under the spotlight of the cameras all the way throughout training camps.

“We're excited to work with the Atlanta Falcons and HBO Sports on 'Hard Knocks,'” said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL senior vice president of broadcasting. “We want to thank Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and the entire Falcons' organization for the trust they have in NFL Films by allowing us unprecedented access into their training camp. The Falcons present numerous storylines with a veteran coaching staff, star players and newcomers all coming together to attempt to rise up back to the top of the NFC.”

The Falcons could actually have opted out of appearing on the show but they apparently do not mind having the cameras in their facility compared to so many other teams who refuse the show-maker's advances. Having made the playoffs in one of the last two seasons they had every right to withdraw but didn't.

This is the exact opposite stance that the Cleveland Browns took when rejecting the opportunity to be on the show.

"It was for the same reason we didn't feel super comfortable having a camera in the draft room," Browns coach Mike Pettine said earlier in the week after it emerged his side turned it down. "Let's get through the first time, let's get through the first year ... There are positives and negatives to doing it."

The Falcons have had a bad start to this offseason with the loss of linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to an Achilles tendon tear. A first-round pick out of Missouri in 2010, Witherspoon has only played 16 games once in his career, totalling 80 tackles and four sacks during the 2011 season.

Still there is optimism in Atlanta for a good season this year.

"We have a good football team," franchise quarterback Ryan told CBSSports recently. "We had so many injuries last season that it took a toll. No disrespect to anybody, but there were times when I would look around the huddle and wonder who was playing X or who was playing Z. We will get back this season to being a good football team. This is a good roster."

We'll get a chance to see if he's telling the truth in the next few months.

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