Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said he’s spoken with free agent defensive tackle Dominique Easley, but no signing appears imminent, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Quinn coached Easley at Florida, so the connection makes some sense on the surface. Easley, of course, was somewhat surprisingly waived by New England last week.
Easley, 24, was selected 29th overall in the 2014 draft by the Patriots, despite the fact that he was recovering from a torn ACL at the time. Although he made it back to the field for his rookie season, he was limited to just 11 games, and played in only 11 more in 2015, having been plagued by hip, knee, and ankle issues.
Before he landed on injured reserve in December of 2015, Easley picked up 15 tackles and two sacks in his sophomore NFL season, and received a solid Pro Football Focus grade. Given his decent play when he was healthy, his first-round pedigree, and the fact that he still had guaranteed money remaining on his contract, Easley’s release came as bit of shock, despite his injury woes.
However, later reports indicated that injuries weren’t the only factor that led to Easley’s release. Injury protocols, an outstanding lawsuits, and a penchant for aggressive dogs were all listed as reasons for the split, and locker room issues could have also come into play. Sources said Easley is “unreliable and immature,” and an unnamed former teammate referred to him as a “locker room cancer.” Said one source to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe:“I think he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He comes across as an entitled kid. He reneges on everything. He thinks he’s invincible.”
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