FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley poked fun at himself after using a profanity in a live draft night interview Thursday with NFL Network analyst and Falcons Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
The Falcons traded with the Seattle Seahawks to move up from the 31st overall pick to select the UCLA pass-rusher with the 26th overall pick. Then the emotional McKinley took the stage in Philadelphia holding a picture of his late grandmother Myrtle Collins. She died in 2011 due to heart complications, 30 seconds after McKinley made a promise to her.
"It means everything, man ... I made a promise to her," McKinley told Sanders. "Like I said, I was going to go D-I. I was going to get out of Richmond [California]. I was going to get out of Oakland. I was going to live my dream to play in the NFL. And I'm here, man. I completed the promise. That means every f---ing thing to me."
During a video conference with the Atlanta media, McKinley was asked about his choice of words in the moment.
"I probably went on stage and probably said a few curse words and kind of slipped up," McKinley said. "Probably got fined already before I even got my contract."
McKinley said Sanders offered advice on how to channel those emotions.
"He said it's good for me to have that emotion, that fire; he said I just need to find a way to manage it," McKinley said. "He just [told] me I've got to be able to control it but keep it as well because that's who I am and that's how I play."
Falcons coach Dan Quinn was asked to assess McKinley using such language in the moment.
"You get the text from people [and] it's like, 'I love that kind of passion,' " Quinn said. "And he is an emotional guy. You can imagine the energy that he brings to a team and to a locker room, so we encourage that, the enthusiasm.
"Honestly, what an emotional night for these guys. Sometimes, it's like we see it after playoff games where all of a sudden, a microphone is in your face and it's this really emotional time. I think we need a cool-down period at the draft, like we have in the locker room."
Along with swapping first-round picks, the Falcons surrendered their third-round pick and a seventh-round pick to the Seahawks to move up for McKinley.