Harry Douglas Speaks About Brother, Football, Role With Atlanta Falcons

daniel coxSenior Writer IMarch 18, 2009

It's been quite a year for the Douglas family.

And for mom and dad Douglas, much of it took place in their home town of Atlanta.

Harry Douglas, after a standout career as a wide receiver at Louisville, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 in the third round.

He was part of the draft class that helped bring about change with the Falcons, the class that reignited and reengaged the passions of the downtrodden team's fan base.

Douglas finished the year with 320 yards receiving, one touchdown, and 69 yards rushing with one touchdown. He also emerged as the team's punt returner.

Week 12's performance against the Carolina Panthers proved to be his breakout game. He finished the day with four catches for 92 yards, one rushing touchdown, and one returned punt for a touchdown.

The returned punt went back 61 yards and sealed the win against the NFC South rival Panthers. It also earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, Toney Douglas is the latest Douglas brother to come on the sports scene. As a guard for the Florida State University basketball team in the 2008-09 season, his 21.3 points a game was good enough for second in the league and he was selected on the first team All-ACC Team.

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He was also selected for the ACC All-Defensive team and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, but he really made a name for himself in Atlanta last weekend when he led the Seminoles to the ACC Tournament championship.

He was outstanding in a semifinal win over No. 1-ranked North Carolina, finishing with 27 points and four assists. Though he was unable to continue the win streak in the championship game against Duke, it was not due to a lack of effort. He played in all but one minute of the game, finishing with 28 points.

And he did it all in his hometown, under the same Georgia Dome roof that his big brother enjoyed his 2008 success.

The Douglas brothers appeared together on Wednesday morning on the local Atlanta sports talk radio show Mayhem in the A.M. on 790 (The Zone) to discuss their whirlwind and exciting year.

Toney described the opportunity to play in his home town in the ACC Tournament as a blessing. Rarely in college has he had the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends, and he said it was especially nice to have his brother Harry in the stands. Both brothers described themselves as each other's best friend and it was a thrill for both of them.

When Toney was told about Duke's coach Mike Krzyzweski's recent comments about Douglas being his favorite non-Duke player in the country, the younger Douglas seemed speechless. Clearly he had not heard the comments and he stumbled on his words for a moment before saying what an honor it was to have a coach with the respect and success of Krzyzweski saying such things about his play.

Both brothers described being able to play in Atlanta as a dream come true. Growing up, they followed the local teams and always imagined themselves playing in the Georgia Dome or for one of the city's professional teams.

Harry was honored to watch his brother play in the tournament over the weekend and described being in the stands and thinking about what it felt like to play on the field. He spoke about the dome atmosphere and the crowd noise he experienced as a rookie in the NFL in Atlanta, and was happy his brother could taste a similar thrill.

When the inevitable Matt Ryan question was posed to Harry, his tone went from that of a jovial big brother to a more serious one, almost reverential.

Douglas said he was happy to have Ryan as his quarterback and that it was seldom that you find a quarterback, especially at 23 years old, that knows as much about the game and is as smart as Ryan. And he added that his quarterback is a great individual as well, which shows Harry Douglas' character and is obviously another reason why the Falcons are so high on this young receiver.

Harry closed the conversation speaking about the Atlanta Falcons as an organization. Asked when he knew they had something special on this team, he didn't hesitate to say it came in the first week he spent in the team's complex.

He spoke of teams he'd been on in the past, in high school and college, who perhaps didn't have the most talent but because everyone on the team played together, did everything right, and knew their role they had success. He saw that right away with the 2008 Falcons.

The Douglas boys' parents must be proud and would probably love nothing more than to see their younger son continue his career down the street from the Georgia Dome at Philip's Arena, playing for the local Hawks. However, Toney's services will unlikely be available for the playoff-bound Hawks in the 2009 NBA draft.

But for now, Falcons fans are pleased to have at least one Douglas brother playing locally, and hope the Dome's Douglas charm continues into the 2009 football season.

This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Falcons Examiner page. To view, go here

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