Ex-college football star says he's victim of Falcons minicamp hoax: 'Thought it was a legit opportunity'

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Juantarius Bryant did not hear his name called during the three-day NFL Draft earlier this month and was among those free-agent rookies trying to latch onto a team for the summer with hopes of making the starting roster come fall.


However, the former Austin Peay defensive back revealed Saturday he was the victim of a hoax. He said someone posed as Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees and invited him to rookie minicamp during the week. The offer was too good to be true.

“I did not realize it was not a legit opportunity until I traveled to the facility for rookie minicamp check in on Wednesday, May 12. It’s most definitely one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me and a very humbling experience,” Bryant said. “Just want to apologize to everyone in the Atlanta Falcons organization for the mix-up. I honestly thought it was a legit opportunity on my end.

“I do not know or understand why this happened, but I do know that everything happens for a reason. Yes, this was heartbreaking for me, but just another stepping stone that I am not afraid to admit or overcome. At the end of the day, this will not make or break me. I will still continue to fight for my dreams because I know it’s what I really want. I’m still striving and still in the best shape of my live. When the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready.”

The Falcons have not commented on the alleged hoax.

Bryant was initially a walk-on player at Austin Peay and was redshirted his freshman year.

He turned his career around and managed to make the First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference team in 2019. He had 242 tackles, eight passes defended, three forced fumbles and an interception in 43 career games with the Governors.

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