It certainly feels like there’s been a lot of DeAngelo Hall content this week. I’m not going to count posts to see if that’s true, but if it is, it’s more by accident than by design, and there are two contributing factors: first, because he’s going back to face his old team — a team he left somewhat acrimoniously — for the first time as a member of the Redskins. That’s pretty much always going to turn into a story. And second, because Hall is consistently willing to speak with unusual frankness about the realities of NFL life.
Thursday, both of those factors kind of came together as Hall spoke with unusual frankness about the reality of leaving a team under somewhat acrimonious circumstances.
The story, according to Hall, goes something like this: when the new Atlanta regime of general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith came in, they sat down with him. All sides, he says, agreed that Hall would stick around in Atlanta and eventually work out a contract extension. Then he went to the scouting combine in Indianapolis and found out that he was being shopped in a trade; this is when the Steve Wyche article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution — the one linked to the words “somewhat acrimoniously” above — was published. Suffice it to say that Hall was not happy.
Anyhow, here’s how Wyche described Hall being shopped in a trade at the time:
The Newark Star-Ledger reported Friday that the New York Giants might be willing to trade its first-round pick to acquire Hall. Officials from other teams and people with knowledge of preliminary trade talks said that Washington could have interest in trading for Hall.
Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato declined comment because Hall is under contract – for one more year – with the Falcons.
If Hall were dealt, it would take at least a first-round pick and possibly more, two Falcons officials said.
All very clinical and journalistically correct. On Thursday, Hall described what that process was actually like behind the scenes.
“We had a deal done here” in Washington, Hall said, “but Arthur Blank didn’t want to send me here. That’s why I ended up not coming here. They couldn’t agree on the trade. We agreed on the money, couldn’t agree on the trade. New York, we agreed on a trade, but couldn’t agree on the money. Dallas, same thing. Jacksonville, they agreed on a trade, couldn’t agree on the money. I was gonna go to Jacksonville after I left Atlanta. Didn’t work.
“So Oakland was the only one who agreed on the money and they agreed on the trade.” He shrugged.
Back to the AJC article.
Hall said he felt “betrayed” and that “these guys kind of stabbed me in the back,” by saying they wanted to retain him while engaging in trade conversations.
“It’s not a situation where I’m out here trying to request a trade,” Hall said. “That is not the case. The case is these guys are out here trying to trade me. That’s what it comes down to.”
Thursday, Hall was a bit more specific about who he meant by “these guys,” and he was very clear that he did not include the Falcons coaching staff.
“They were cool,” Hall said. “I like Coach Smith, like I said before. He’s a good coach. I liked him when he came. I liked the staff — I had already played for the coordinator, he was there already, the DB coach was still there. Everybody was pretty much intact.”
Which left one specific target for Hall’s ire. “I didn’t trust Dimitroff at all,” he said, “because he lied to me. He lied to me several times. He promised me he was gonna get somethin’ done, and he’s behind my back tryin’ to shop me at the draft. That’s one thing. If you keep it straight hundred with me, I keep it hundred with you. Truthfully, I’m gonna fight and claw for you. You lie to me? Can’t trust you. Wouldn’t want to.”
One more from the AJC piece.
“I don’t think I’m any more outspoken than hundreds of other guys in the NFL,” Hall said.
This is the only thing in there that I’m pretty confident Hall was mistaken about — and that’s a GOOD thing. It all goes back to that “willing to speak with unusual frankness” thing. I mean, I really don’t think you get a wrap-up quote like this from “hundreds of other guys”:
“Promises were made and they lied,” Hall said. “Like I said, when they lied I thought, ‘Can’t trust ‘em. I gotta get outta here. I wanna get outta here. I will.’”
And he did, which is we can all share in DeAngelo Hall week.
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