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Archive for Monday, December 26, 2005

Falcons will look into Mora matter

Head coach reportedly lashes out at radio reporters

December 26, 2005

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— Falcons general manager Rich McKay said Sunday it was too early to tell if the team would discipline coach Jim Mora for his antics following the team's overtime loss at Tampa Bay.

"Let me get through the weekend," said McKay, who also is the Falcons president. "Right now, I just don't know."

The 27-24 defeat Saturday eliminated Atlanta from playoff contention. After the game, in his regularly scheduled postgame chat with radio flagship analyst Dave Archer, Mora was asked to explain why the Falcons punted from their 24 when facing fourth-and-two with 1:08 remaining in overtime.

Even though Michael Koenen's punt went 53 yards, Mark Jones' 28-yard return put the Buccaneers in position to win the game on Matt Bryant's field goal five plays later.

According to several team and radio station employees, Mora abruptly removed his headset after hearing Archer's question and threw it to the ground.

Three team employees and two with the radio station, all of whom requested anonymity because they said they feared alienating the coach, said Mora was so angry that he also threw a microphone - which almost hit Nicole Watson, a sideline reporter with the radio station, in the head.

Watson had given Mora the microphone and headset so he could conduct his usual postgame interview with Archer, who was in the broadcast booth above the field.

Mora did not immediately return a call placed to his cell phone Sunday afternoon.

The Falcons have lost five of seven since a Week 9 victory at Miami left them 6-2 and tied for the NFC lead.

Atlanta, which advanced to the conference title game last season and beat defending NFC champion Philadelphia in the Sept. 12 season opener, blew a 24-17 lead against the Bucs when Carnell Williams ran for a touchdown on fourth-and-one at the Falcons' six with 25 seconds left in regulation.

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