The Atlanta Falcons tapped into Cordarrelle Patterson's athleticism in a way that no team ever had last year, and club owner Arthur Blank wants to see more of it. Blank considers it a no-brainer to re-sign the highly versatile skill player, who came to Atlanta on a one-year contract worth $3 million last April.
"From our standpoint, we'd love to have (Patterson) back," Blank said, via the team web site. "We saw the same thing that you saw on the field. I think this is a very talented player, a very talented athlete. This is a good example of when a coach understands the scheme -- which he does, Coach Smith -- and he takes an athlete like this and can use him in a variety of ways I think you see the kind of production that he can have."
Patterson posted career highs in both rushing (618) and receiving (548) yards, giving him a team-best 1,166 yards from scrimmage. New Falcons coach Arthur Smith's offense lined Patterson up all over the Falcons' formations, anywhere from outside receiver to the slot to the backfield, and put Patterson's talents to work as a running back for 153 carries, by far a career-high. That's a lot of value for $3 million, and Patterson is certainly in line to earn much more as an unrestricted free agent this spring, but Blank's resolve is clear.
"He's a terrific young man. He's great with the fans. He's great in the locker room," Blank added. "He's a real competitor. … I hope that he'll be a Falcon this time [next] year."
Patterson, for his part, has made it known he'd like to stay. He even said so with a message on his cleats in the Falcons' last game of the year.
"You'd be a fool to not want to play for Art, especially this year with the foundation that he's been building and the chemistry that he's building with these guys in this locker room on and off the field," Patterson said after the season. "For a guy like me, I'd be a fool to not want to play for Art next year."
And why wouldn't he want to stay? He'd essentially been labeled a journeyman special teams standout after his first eight pro seasons, roving from Minnesota to Oakland, New England, Chicago and finally Atlanta as an All-Pro caliber kickoff returner. Surprisingly enough, Patterson posted career lows in kickoff returns (18) and kickoff return yardage (434) in Atlanta. But his newfound offensive value was an impressive renewal of the 30-year-old's career.
And if Blank can help it, the sequel will be on display in Atlanta.