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Jeff George’s Days as Falcon Running Out

October 22, 1996

SUWANEE, Ga. (AP) _ Jeff George’s time with the Atlanta Falcons is almost over.

George, suspended the past four games after a sideline tirade against coach June Jones, was expected to be waived by the team today. He is subject to a waiver claim until Wednesday afternoon.

``There really aren’t any options,″ said Jones, who suspended George for conduct detrimental to the team following the Sept. 22 indident.

In the ensuing days before the NFL trading deadline, the Falcons unsuccessfully tried to trade George.

The waiver leaves George’s grievance against the team, subject of a scheduled hearing next week, as the last order of business between the Falcons and the quarterback once considered the cornerstone of the team.

Any team claiming George on waivers would assume the remaining prorated share of his $3.6 million salary _ which now totals about $1.9 million. Few teams have that kind of money available under their salary cap.

After Wednesday, he would be an unrestricted free agent and could sign a new contract with any team.

George joins Green Bay’s Brett Favre, Chris Miller and Wade Wilson as starting quarterbacks who have left the Falcons since 1993.

The Falcons are 0-7 after Sunday’s last-minute loss at Dallas.

Only one Falcons team has lost more than seven in a row at the start of a season _ the first Falcons team in 1966, whose losing streak reached nine before it beat the New York Giants 27-16.

The latest performance was the best for the team this season, but the results were no different _ a 32-28 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys, who won the game on a 60-yard pass from Troy Aikman to Kelvin Martin with 1:42 remaining.

Jones was so upset by Sunday’s outcome that he begged out of his postgame news conference, saying he’d talk to the media on Monday.

``It was a difficult loss, obviously,″ Jones said. ``The guys fought hard and you like to come home with a win.

``We said what we needed to do was to take the football away and the offense had to take the clock,″ Jones said. ``We did those things and we came up short, which made it pretty disappointing.″

Dallas had the only two turnovers in the game, losing a pair of fumbles. Atlanta’s offense had possession of the ball for more than two-thirds of the game, 41:22 to the Cowboys’ 18:38.

``Our effort has been good every time we have gone out,″ Jones said. ``Sixty minutes is what you have to play and we didn’t do that. Every team from here on will challenge our manhood. When you are 0-7, you have to get up every week, and it doesn’t get any easier.″

The Falcons return to the Georgia Dome for their next two games, against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and the Carolina Panthers the following week. Carolina opened the season by routing Atlanta 29-6.

Atlanta outgained the Cowboys 369-306 yards, but its inability to strike for touchdowns doomed it to another loss. The Falcons had to settle for five field goals by Morten Andersen, matching his career-high.

Jones said defensive lineman Travis Hall was limping, but walking, and is ``iffy″ for the game against the Steelers. Hall sprained his left ankle in Sunday’s game.

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