Last week, Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez returned to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for the first time since coming to the Falcons in 2009. This week will mark another historic homecoming involving the Falcons, but the reception for former Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking in Atlanta is certain to be much less than the heartwarming response that Gonzalez received in Kansas City.
Brooking, who roamed the turf of the Georgia Dome for 11 seasons as a Falcon, returns for the first time since not being re-signed by Atlanta after the 2008 season, now as a member of the Denver Broncos.
It’s sure to be a nearly deafening chorus of boos and negative caterwauling when Brooking’s name is announced on Monday night.
Despite being a fan favorite while a member of the Falcons, Brooking lost his place in the hearts of Atlanta when, as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, he childishly mocked the Falcons after Dallas defeated Atlanta at Cowboys Stadium in 2009. Many fans still have the memories of Brooking’s pseudo-dirty-bird dance and trash-talking burned into their brains, and will definitely not let the former Falcon live it down.
After the 2009 game in Dallas, Brooking apologized for his trash-talk, but refused to make amends for mocking the one-time Falcons victory dance.
“I ain’t apologizing to anybody,” he said.
Despite missing most of the preseason this year, the Broncos signed Brooking to play at weak side linebacker and on special teams. His making the Denver roster was a surprise to many.
Denver executive vice president John Elway told the Denver Post, “We’re going off reputation and the leadership that he can bring,”
The former Georgia Tech standout from Coweta County, Ga. will certainly bring both of those, but as for having any game left, that remains to be seen.