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Abraham treating Sunday as any other game

Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham, now with the Arizona Cardinals, tried his best to bite his tongue while talking about his old team Wednesday afternoon.

Actually, Abraham avoided stirring up any controversy as he prepares to face his former teammates Sunday in Arizona. The 35-year-old veteran simply was honest when asked whether he felt unwanted by the Falcons.

"I got cut, so it wasn’t like I didn’t feel unwanted. It kind of was obvious,’’ Abraham said during a conference call.

"I was surprised because I was worried more about us losing to San Francisco (in the playoffs), so I really wasn’t like worrying about getting cut because I just signed a three-year deal. I was just chilling and the next thing, my sister called me and she was like, `Boy, they’re about to cut you.’ I was like, `What?’ ’’

The Falcons released Abraham on March 1 along with Dunta Robinson and Michael Turner, moves that freed up $16 million in cap space. Releasing Abraham saved the Falcons $5.75 million.

Abraham, who got injured at the end of last season but played through it, explained exactly how everything went down when he got the call from head coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. He said they made it clear it had nothing to do with his "physical play.’’

"It wasn’t bad at all,’’ Abraham said of the parting. "But Mike told me he wanted me to stay. It was a business decision. It had nothing to do with me, personally. It was just more business.’’

Abraham considered retirement before signing with the Cardinals. Abraham signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals. He has a base salary of $1 million this season and $2.5 million.

In terms of Sunday’s game, Abraham said it would have added significance if it involved him coming back to play at the Georgia Dome.

"Them coming here, it’s like they’re the next opponent,’’ Abraham said. "If we would have played in Atlanta it probably would been kind of emotional. But here, it’s the next team up.’’

Abraham came to the Cardinals as a reserve pass-rusher. Now he is in the starting lineup at linebacker and got his first two sacks last week against the Seattle Seahawks.

"I probably should have eight or nine sacks right now,’’ Abraham said. "I actually was going for the ball instead of the quarterback. … I’m pretty good now.’’

Maybe he’ll get one Sunday against Matt Ryan, the quarterback he used to see in practice daily.

"I used to chase him at practice. I just couldn’t touch him,’’ Abraham said. "Now I can.’’

Abraham recorded 68.5 of his 124-career sacks in seven seasons with the Falcons.

Smith revisited the Abraham situation following Wednesday's practice.

"It's part of football, but your roster changes every year,'' Smith said. ``John was a very integral part of the success that we had here. We know he's an outstanding edge-rusher.''