Don't dirty the bird: Falcons say stay off our logo

Editor's note: In the course of conducting interviews for this story, ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure stepped on the Falcons' logo Monday afternoon. The players immediately reprimanded him for breaking team rules. Cornerback Desmond Trufant said McClure would be subject to a fine.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Not even seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney could escape his teammates' wrath.

Shortly after joining the Atlanta Falcons this preseason, the 36-year-old veteran found out about the newly implemented rule that coincided with a remodeled locker room: Don't step on the Falcons' logo.

"The first day I walked in, I walked right over his nose, beak, and I got yelled at by every single guy in this locker room," Freeney said with a laugh. "Yeah, I got screamed on. But that's about protecting our stuff. It's something that symbolizes our team and what it's about. And that's just one of those rules.

"It's like saying, 'Look, don't step all over us. That's the team right there. You wouldn't step on any teammates, so don't step on the Falcon.'"

The freshly centered, red, black, and white Falcons' logo was part of a locker room facelift that was completed back in April. Coach Dan Quinn encouraged unity not only with respect for the logo, but also by sorting lockers differently so players are not necessarily next to each other based on position group, age or number.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, probably the most vocal guy around, said tight end Jacob Tamme is the enforcer designated to let younger and new players know not to step on the logo.

"The new guys today, they've already been told," Weatherspoon said. "Jacob Tamme, he lays the law down around here. He let's everyone know what's going on."

So did Weatherspoon give Freeney a hard time about his violation?

"I didn't catch him, or else I would have taken him down to the ground," he said with a laugh.

Weatherspoon always has been a strong advocate of team unity. This latest measure involving the logo is one he understands and appreciates.

"It makes sense," Weatherspoon said. "It's obviously something that we hadn't done before, but it makes sense to not step on what your symbol is. I think it says a lot about us. It looks nice. We want to play nice. We want to keep that nice. We stay off of that, and we play some good football."