The Atlanta Falcons parted ways with their 2021 sack leader, Dante Fowler Jr., ahead of free agency.
However, it didn’t take long for Fowler to find a new home and a familiar one.
Fowler reunited with his former coach, Dan Quinn, for the third time after signing a $5 million, one-year deal with the Cowboys on Monday, March 21.
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Fowler Has A Special Relationship with Quinn
Before entering the league, Fowler played for the Florida Gators when ex-Falcons head coach Dann Quinn was the defensive coordinator a UF. But soon, Quinn departed for the NFL to the Seattle Seahawks.
Fowler became a top prospect ahead of the 2015 NFL draft, which was the year that Quinn had been named the Falcons’ new head coach.
Atlanta had the No. 8 overall pick, but the Jaguars took him at No. 3.
Unfortunately, an ACL injury derailed his rookie season but he came back the following year and played in all 16 games. He played one more full season in Jacksonville before he was traded to the LA Rams in 2018. Fowler blossomed in the “City on Angels,” logging a career-high of 58 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 2019, plus two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown.
After his best season to date, Fowler hit the open market which is when Quinn brought him to Atlanta on a three-year, $48 million contract.
“He recruited me coming out of high school,” Fowler told AtlantaFalcons.com after signing with the Falcons in 2020. “Everything was so genuine with him. He coached me my freshman year, taught me a lot of things. Just being a man and how to be approached. I was super disciplined when I was with him. I look at him as kind of a father figure. You don’t want to let him down when you’re around him.”
Their reunion didn’t last long as Quinn was fired in the midst of the season after an 0-5 start.
Fowler failed to have a repeat 2019 season and then started just six games in 2021 while battling a knee injury. He had 36 tackles, three forced fumbles and led Atlanta with 4.5 sacks as the team finished ranked last in the league with 18 total sacks.
After not living up to expectations and on the road to a rebuild, the Falcons cut him loose.
Quinn Came to the Rescue, Again
A hole at edge rusher opened up in Dallas after Randy Gregory signed a deal with the Broncos.
That’s when Quinn came swooping in to grab Fowler again.
“It feels awesome. It feels amazing,” Fowler said on Monday via the team’s official website. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here in Dallas and to be a Cowboy. What better way to have Dan Quinn as my defensive coordinator – a guy that I’ve known since high school, and a guy that knows the ins and outs from me as a football player. I know he’ll get the best from me. I’m excited to be here.”
Fowler isn’t sure what his role will be under Quinn yet, but it’s safe to say he is excited about another opportunity.
“Whatever role I play, I just want to do it 100 percent and do it all – all the way to my ultimate best,” he said. “Whatever I can do for this team, that’s what I’m going to do. If it’s to go sack the quarterback, or make a play for my team, that’s what I’m going to do.”
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