Area Students Blame Falcons-Related Illnesses for Tardiness

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY

Two Greater Atlanta Christian School students have made national headlines with their creative tardy excuses Monday following the Atlanta Falcons' devastating Super Bowl loss the night before. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith and defensive line coach Bryan Cox were relieved of their duties on Wednesday. The Falcons are considering in-house candidates Marquand Manuel, Jerome Henderson and Jeff Ulbrich as potential replacements. A former vocal linebacker for 12 seasons, the 48-year-old Cox coached the Falcons' D-line for three seasons, being retained from Mike Smith's staff by Quinn.

The 61-year old Smith worked under Dan Quinn for two seasons.

Earlier Tuesday, the Falcons announced Steve Sarkisian would replace Shanahan as offensive coordinator, a role he has not held at the National Football League level.

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As you may have heard, the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots in overtime Sunday. Atlanta's defense couldn't get off the field for most of the second half, and Smith seems to be paying the price for that. Per multiple reports, quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur will also leave the team to become offensive coordinator with the Rams.

These moves mean the Falcons will follow their Super Bowl appearance with significant staff changes on both sides of the ball.