Takkarist McKinley: Falcons declining my fifth-year option was wake up call



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Takkarist McKinley: Falcons declining my fifth-year option was wake up call

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley is extremely motivated to have a big 2020 season after the Atlanta Falcons declines his fifth-year option. McKinley, who the Falcons selected at No. 26 in the 2017 NFL draft, didn't met the team's expectations in his first couple of seasons in the league.

In April, the Falcons decided not to pick up McKinley's fifth-year option, worth just over $10 million as back then they said they were taking "wait-and-see approach." "You can only control what you can control,'' McKinley said, per ESPN.

"I can't talk to TD [general manager Thomas Dimitroff] and beg him, 'Hey man, accept my fifth-year option.' I can't do that. That's up to them. ... Whatever I showed in the [three] years, they decided to decline my option, which is cool.

I still got another year here, still got another year to prove myself.' '

The Falcons not picking up his option was a 'wake up call' for McKinley

"It was a wake-up call. It was more motivation. It made me hungry, you feel me? Not saying I wasn't hungry in the past.

Just got to go prove it," McKinley admitted. McKinley worked on his body this offseason and arrived to training camp much lighter and probably in the best shape of his life. "Pretty much went at it Monday through Saturdays,'' McKinley said.

"Pretty much all day to lose weight and get in the best shape of my life.' ' The 24-year-old collected just 3.5 sacks last season and in his 45 games played in the NFL he has totalled 16.5 sacks. "Obviously I wish my first three seasons could be 10-plus sacks, but that doesn't happen that way,'' he said.

"Life is a roller coaster. I don't think nobody's life has always been just up. It always comes up and down. It's been very inconsistent for me, my NFL career. But that don't mean I'm about to give up. I still believe in myself.

My coaches believe in me. My teammates believe in me. And my family believes in me. And I believe in myself. The defensive end has the one year and $1,858,200 remaining on his contract before he becomes a free agent. "At the end of the day, I know what I can do.

For me, the biggest thing is just finishing. I left a lot of sacks out there last year. This year, not trying to do the same thing.' '