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Arthur Blank wants Antone Smith to be a Falcon for years to come

Antone Smith's outstanding performance has caught the eye of the most important person in the Atlanta Falcons organization.

Team owner Arthur Blank couldn't stop raving about Smith, who has a team-leading five touchdowns while averaging 51 yards per scoring play. Smith has had a touchdown of 40-plus yards in three straight games, tied for the longest such streak over the past 10 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"It’s incredible to see his performance," Blank said. "And it’s actually really interesting because I really hadn’t paid a lot of attention to it, but he’s been to several other clubs in the NFL. You really wonder what it is in a player’s career that at a certain point in time, they blossom and they just trigger and go. And he’s obviously doing that now."

Smith, 29, entered the league with Detroit as a undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2009. He was released by the Lions and Vikings, had a brief stint on the Texans' practice squad, then eventually ended up on the Falcons' practice squad by October of '09.

Smith's ability to excel on special teams eventually led to more opportunities on offense starting last year, although most would argue he's still not getting nearly enough touches right now. Smith has seven touchdowns on 31 career touches. He has 23 touches through six games this year.

"He’s an exciting player; he’s a team player," Blank said. "The most exciting thing about this last game was not only his run -- another 41-yard scoring play -- but the next play, he was down there making the special-teams tackle.

"He really epitomizes everything you want in a team player. It’s not about self; it’s always about team. It’s always about doing whatever I can do to contribute. And he lives that way. He really, really does. I’m thrilled he’s a Falcon and I’m happy for the season he’s having."

Smith bashfully responded to Blank's high praise.

"Guess it’s just hard work, putting it all on the field and leaving it on the field every time you go out there," Smith said. "Yeah, yeah, it's great to hear it from the head man."

The Falcons could show Smith their appreciation with a new contract, considering his expires at season's end. Blank was asked if he'd like to see Smith a Falcon for years moving forward.

"Absolutely," Blank said. "I have no reason to not want that, for sure."