Training camp began today in Flowery Branch. Team owner Arthur Blank, who has high expectations for the franchise, sat down with FOX 5 Atlanta one-on-one to talk football, philanthropy, and Kanye West.
"He won't tolerate you know 50 players operating at (a high) standard and maybe three at (a lower standard). All 53 in terms of commitment and consistency and effort are going to be operating at the same level," says Blank.
"I think with Coach Smith and GM Terry Fontenot… everything that we hope for we get from them in terms of their intellect, their leadership ability, their ability to work together collaboratively, to be good listeners... to understand the standards for the organization have to be high and have to be consistently high," Blank says.
So it begs the question: What are Blank's realistic expectations for the Falcons this year?
"I think we have the capability to have a much better season than a lot of people think we may have. Seventeen games - we've got a lot of opportunities to show what we can do," says Blank.
One noticeable difference on the team will be the absence of legendary receiver Julio Jones. Mr. Blank wished him well, despite the player's controversial exit. Blank says he wasn't pleased when Jones said on national TV he was ready to leave Atlanta.
"The city has been very supportive of the Falcons franchise and very supportive of Julio as well. But I understand whatever motivates him... that's his choice. So we'll go on from there," says Blank.
Mr. Blank's name has become synonymous with philanthropy and giving back. His latest donation, $200 million to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is the largest in the hospital's history.
"Our young people are one-third of our population, but they are one hundred percent of our hope. So we need to take care of our young people in every way, physically, mentally... and all the stresses they have today, which are pretty high," says Blank.
An unexpected topic that came up Kanye West, who is currently living at Mercedes Benz stadium while he's finishing his upcoming album.
Mr. Blank says with the Benz having the reputation of the best fan experience, he's not surprised that someone like Kanye would want to stay.
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