0

Falcons ready for last game against Seattle

ATLANTA - The Seattle Seahawks are expected to be watching the scoreboard as they wait to see if they'll host Washington, Minnesota or New Orleans in the playoffs.

The Atlanta Falcons may be more interested in paying attention to the traffic reports, eager to leave town quickly following the end of a disastrous season packed with equal doses of losses and controversy.

But what's the motivation for players from either the NFC West champion Seahawks (10-5) or the reeling Falcons (3-12) for the last game of the regular season today?

The Falcons' only available prize is a chance for the No. 2 pick in the draft, and that possibility can be kept alive only with a loss. That's hardly the stuff of pregame pep talks.

Seattle, according to coach Mike Holmgren, already 'clinched everything that's possible to clinch' in playoff positioning.

The Falcons have lost six straight, a span that includes the bitter end under former coach Bobby Petrino, who quit the day after his last loss to take a college job at Arkansas. The Falcons are 0-2 under interim head coach Emmitt Thomas, who made it clear what's left for his team.

With a new coach yet to be hired, many players won't be back, so their motivation against Seattle should be the basic desire to salvage their careers.

'They're writing a resume,' Thomas said. 'Like I told them, 'All of us won't be back here in Falcons uniforms next year.' A lot of them are going to be seeking jobs in other places, so they better lay a good product out there because people are watching. I think that's the motivation.'

Among the Atlanta players who may be looking for work are veteran quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich. Each failed to hold the starting job left vacant when the franchise player, Michael Vick, was indicted on dogfighting charges that eventually earned him 23 months in a federal prison.

The Vick case hung over the team from the opening day of training camp, and seemed to leave a cloud of despair that grew darker with every loss.

The season was a brutal series of letdowns for Atlanta's players and fans, leaving linebacker Keith Brooking and his teammates in a survival mode.

'My only approach is to just grind it out and know tough times don't last, tough people do,' Brooking said.