CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Considering his financial aspirations weighed against the risk of injury, it would be understandable ifFalcons running back Devonta Freeman skipped the team's offseason football activities until given a new contract.
That won’t be happening.
Freeman told Sporting Newshe will partake in all of Atlanta’s upcoming workouts and minicamp while remaining optimistic that a deal can be finalized before the 2017 regular season begins.
MORE: SN'sQ&A with Matt Ryan
Freeman said thedecision is based on his passion for football and strong feelings toward his teammates,as well as faithin theFalcons to extend his current rookie deal, whichis set to expire at the end of the 2017 season.
"I’m doing everything,"Freeman said Wednesday after participating in the players-only “Camp Brotherhood” workouts organized by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan at the University of Miami.
"I love these guys. I love football."
Freeman, 25, is set to earn $1.84 million in the final year of the contract he signed as a 2014 fourth-round draft pick. Freeman, though, has put himself in position for a significant raise aftertwo consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus rushing yards.
Freeman and his agent made their desire for a new deal public before Super Bowl 51via NFL Network. Last month, general manager Thomas Dimitroff told co-host Vic Carucci and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Falcons were "confident something can get wrapped up"with Freeman later in the offseason.
Asked whether he believes this will be the case, Freeman said, "That's what I anticipate."
"We will address this,” Dimitroff said at the annual leaguemeeting in Phoenix. "When you look at our history, we address these situations going into training camp. I’m throwing that out there as a general timeline. I don’t know when that exactly will be, but I’m confident that something can get wrapped up and he’s going to be part of us for years to come.
"He represents our style of running — urgency, competitive and passionate. It’s fun to watch him as it is (running back) Tevin Coleman."
As for Freeman, he's having fun preparing for Monday’s start of offseason workouts with more than 40 Falcons players who traveled to South Florida for the sessions and the off-field camaraderie that comes with it.
"It’s so good for (team) chemistry,"Freeman said.
The next step will be the Falcons making good by giving Freeman a new deal.
Alex Marvez’s story on Devonta Freeman discussing Super Bowl 51, his career and his South Florida roots will appear Thursday at SportingNews.com. Alex can be heard from 7 p.m. ETto 11 p.m. ET Wednesday and Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.