Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 1/4/13

When the Falcons next take the field, they'll be doing so with heavy hearts.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Asante Samuel's mother, Christine, passed away Tuesday morning.

The four-time Pro Bowl cornerback told the paper in October that she had long been battling an illness -- Lou Gehrig's disease. He missed practice this week to be with his family.

Some of Samuel's teammates complimented him on his level-headed demeanor, as he rarely let his mom's sickness interfere with his job.

“He’s a professional,” safety Thomas DeCoud said. “He knows how to separate his personal life and his professional life.

If you looked at him every day, you’d never know that something that big was bothering him. It’s a testament to his character as a person.”

Others lent support in his time of need.

“Just wanted to let him know that we’re thinking about him, man, and if he needs anything, we got his back,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said, via FoxSportsSouth.com. “Asante is — I mean, the kind of teammate he’s been this year has been amazing, man, so you hate for something like this to happen.

“I don’t know the pain of losing a mom because my mother’s still alive, but I’m sure it’s a very painful situation and he’s a strong person. It’s taken a very strong person to deal with the situation. Our hearts go out to him and his family.”

The funeral will be held Saturday, a day before Samuel's 31st birthday.

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