Monday, April 21, 2003
Updated: April 22, 11:34 AM ET
Vick pick had Falcons on edge
By Greg Garber
You are Aaron Salkin and the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
The Atlanta Falcons' director of communications is laying in bed in his Duluth, Ga. home. Sleep is impossible.
The Falcons hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and planned to use it on Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick. But that's not what is troubling Salkin. A representative from ESPN had called the day before and asked a favor. Could the Falcons wait, say 10 to 12 minutes before they make their pick at the top of the draft so that the Worldwide Leader in Sports can run the open to their draft show?
"We said, yes, but all night I'm seeing the worst-case scenario," Salkin said. "I go long and we lose the pick to the Cardinals."
It's dead silent in the Falcons' war room as ESPN rolls its open. Five minutes pass. Eight minutes pass.
"Aaron, can we pick yet?" head coach Dan Reeves asks.
"Uh, a few more minutes, Coach," Salkin replies.
Finally, the open concludes and Chris Berman looks expectantly at the podium.
Salkin gives the command and the Falcons changed the direction of their franchise.
"Nerve-wracking," Salkin said. "It was pretty close."
Greg Garber is an ESPN.com senior writer.