Juantarius Bryant Says He Was Victim of Hoax Convincing Him of Falcons Tryout

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 16, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 22: An Atlanta Falcons helmet is seen on the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Former Austin Peay defensive back Juantarius Bryant said he was the victim of a hoax centered around a fake tryout with the Atlanta Falcons.

Bryant explained Saturday someone had reached out to him while pretending to be Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees. He drove to Atlanta's team facility for rookie minicamp, only to discover the team hadn't invited him. He called it "one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me."

Juantarius Bryant @TheyLoveMyHair_

It’s been a rough few days, but I felt the need to clear the air and get this off my chest. Honestly ready to move on from the situation. pic.twitter.com/yUJELOstZW

"I am ready to move on from the situation and respectfully I do not feel like talking about it over and over again," he said. "Yes, whoever did this to me is very wrong, but I'm moving on from the situation and I forgive them for whatever reason they chose to do it."

Bryant had previously told Alexander Allard of The All State, Austin Peay's student newspaper, about receiving a text purportedly from Pees.

"When he told me they have a spot for me at the rookie minicamp, my heart just started racing," he said. "It made me start thinking 'hard work really does pay off.' I had sacrificed so many things just to get an opportunity that a lot of other people would have folded had they been in my position."

The Nashville, Tennessee, native went undrafted in 2020.

Bryant was a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference defender as a senior in 2019. He finished the year with 107 total tackles and four pass breakups and helped the Governors claim a share of their first OVC title since 1977.