Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 6/18/13
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When the Falcons drafted cornerback Desmond Trufant in the first round and he was unable to participate in the early stages of offseason team activities because of a rule in the collective bargaining agreement, they did everything they could to get Trufant up to speed. To that end, a defensive coach used Skype to keep Trufant abreast of what the team was doing on a daily basis.When it comes to tight end Tony Gonzalez during mandatory minicamp, not so much. Asked if Gonzalez, who has been excused from this weeks three-day minicamp, were using any techniques similar to what Trufant did, head coach Mike Smith responded in the negative.Tony has been doing this for a long time, Smith said. Hes 37 years old. Theres no reason for Tony not to be resting, resting his body and getting ready for the regular season. Our main goal every year is to have our players ready for the first game and each player takes a little bit different path to get there. Tonys path is a lot different than these other players who havent played for us.With Gonzalez gone, the Falcons continue to do a great deal of experimentation in the offseason at that position. On Tuesday they announced that they had signed tight end Colin Cloherty, who has played eight games in the NFL after being signed as a free agent out of Brown University by Indianapolis in 2009.Significantly, Cloherty, 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, spent time with Jacksonville in 2011 when current Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter held the same position with the Jaguars. When the Falcons were looking for a backup quarterback last season, they went with Luke McCown, who had experience with Koetters offense. That could potentially give Cloherty a leg up in the competition.Hes going to be a guy well be able to easily to indoctrinate into our offense, Smith said of Cloherty.Along with Gonzalez, rookie Levine Toilolo, a fourth-round pick out of Stanford who is the teams tight end of the future, figures to be a lock to make the roster. That likely leaves only one other spot on the active roster for four others: Cloherty, Chase Coffman -- who caught the dramatic touchdown against Seattle in the playoffs last season -- Andrew Szczerba and Tommy Gallarda. Gallarda and Szczerba fit more of the mold of the Y tight end, who is a blocker, while the others are F tight ends.Smith was asked where Cloherty fits in on the teams depth chart. Although Cloherty was signed on Tuesday, he did not participate in minicamp and will have to wait for Wednesday. Cloherty has caught four passes for 57 yards in his one career start.Hes going to be starting at the bottom and working his way up, Smith said. Hes more of an F tight end than a Y tight end. Hes a move guy that can play that tight endfullback position.Gonzalezs extends influenceGonzalezs eating and conditioning habits are legendary, so much so that he wrote a book about it. Apparently, those habits are rubbing off in a positive way on one of Gonzalezs young teammates, wide receiver Julio Jones.Jones said about a year ago he gave up eating fattier meats of beef and pork. (Clearly, hes an eat to live man and not a live to eat man, which is probably a good thing if youre an NFL player.)Im young, Jones said. Talking to Tony Gonzalez, as far as how healthy he eats and everything else. I feel a lot better. I feel like I recover a lot better Its been working for me, man. No injuries. Feeling real good, healthy.Jones said he mainly confines himself to poultry: chicken, turkey burgers, turkey bacon, etc.Dont get me wrong, now, I aint no health nut, Jones said. I eat candy. I eat brownies, whatever the case may be. I parted ways with beef and pork. It wasnt hard at all. You got to be very disciplined. I feel like Im a very disciplined person. If I set my mind to do something, Im going to do it. Im going to accomplish it. Im like, Im not going to eat it. And I havent eaten it.Uncooperative weatherThe Falcons made Tuesdays session open to the public (as they also will Wednesdays) but shortly after the team performed its walkthrough and stretching, the skies opened up, forcing the practice to move to the indoor facility, which ended the open practice.Nonetheless, Smith said it didnt affect what they needed to get done.Guys responded well with change of venue, he said.
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