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Milloy faces Falcons

Helped turn around Atlanta in 2008

Lawyer Milloy isn’t bitter about his time in Atlanta coming to an end.

The Falcons had a new coach, a rookie quarterback and were looking to get younger, and Milloy was 35 and coming off a subpar year with an expiring contract. Yet the four-time Pro Bowler gave everything he had in 2008, even playing with a broken back in the playoffs.

Milloy helped turn around a team that finished 4-12 in 2007, while dealing with Michael Vick’s dogfighting allegations and Bobby Petrino’s resignation as head coach. The Falcons went a surprising 11-5 the following year and made the playoffs, and Milloy was a part of it.

“He was one of those mentors in our first year and really was a big contributor in terms of spreading the message,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I believe that you’ve got to have players that can be the messengers for your coaching staff. You can’t always be hearing it from the coaches. He did a great job with that.”

Milloy’s contract was up and the Falcons didn’t bring him back, and the safety was left without a job until the first week of the 2009 season, when he was signed by the hometown Seahawks. He played in a reserve role for most of last season, and when Pete Carroll – Milloy’s former coach in New England – signed on to lead the Seahawks, a re-energized Milloy signed on for another season and earned a starting job.

Milloy will see his former club come to town this weekend, facing a Seahawks team that’s lost five of its last seven games and been outscored 190-74 in those losses. The Falcons have the best record in the NFC and have won seven straight games.

Despite being 6-7, Seattle is still in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC West, while Atlanta can get one step closer to locking up homefield advantage.

McNabb benched

The Washington Redskins plan to start Rex Grossman on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, benching six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was billed as the next John Elway when he came to the franchise in April.

Coach Mike Shanahan said he informed McNabb of the move Thursday, adding he wasn’t sure that McNabb would be on the roster next year. McNabb will drop to third string for the final two games, with John Beck serving as backup.

Ryan: ‘I never knew’

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan reiterated that he knew nothing about the wall of players that was formed on the sideline last Sunday against Miami, during which assistant coach Sal Alosi tripped a Dolphins player on a punt return.

“The facts are the facts,” Ryan said. “I never knew, so it’s easy to stand up here and tell you that. I’m not a guy that lies about anything. I’m just speaking the truth. If that amazes people, it amazes people.”

Around the league

The Green Bay Packers listed quarterback Aaron Rodgers as doubtful to play Sunday night at New England, a week after he suffered his second concussion of the season. … A doctor will be at Matt Cassel’s side in St. Louis on Sunday to provide final advice on whether Kansas City’s quarterback should play 11 days after an emergency appendectomy. Cassel was limited in practice and officially listed as questionable. … Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has been fined $12,500 by the NFL for hitting Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in the head and neck in their game Monday night.

Tags: NFL, seahawks

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