A 'special' player - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A 'special' player

January 8, 2003

It may have taken five years, but Artie Ulmer has found his niche in the NFL. "I enjoy it, we have a lot of fun playing special teams. I think that's the thing that separates us from other teams is that we just don't have a bunch of scrubs out there playing special teams. A lot of teams try to get by with first or second year players, a lot of them have cap problems and things like that but here we got some athletes that play special teams and that's why we're so good," Falcons linebacker Artie Ulmer said.

The former Valdosta State standout is playing a key role in the Atlanta Falcons quest for a Super Bowl ring. Ulmer leads the Falcons in special teams tackles with 23 and had a big hand in last week's upset win over Green Bay, landing on a blocked punt in the end zone for Atlanta's second score. Ulmer said, "It was awesome, it was my first one ever. Actually my first fumble recovery ever. It was a great play by Mark Simoneu and Kevin McCadam and I just got lucky and fell on the ball."

But this week Ulmer's job gets even tougher. The Philadelphia Eagles boast one of the most dangerous return men in the history of the league in veteran Brian Mitchell. "It looks like he's in his third or fourth year. I don't know how many years he's played but he's looking pretty daggum good, he's keeping them in games getting them in scoring position. I mean that's not just a testament to him, that's a testament to their whole special teams group," Ulmer added.

But Ulmer believes the Falcons special teams will step up to the task and take the next step in making this season one to remember. "If we win two more wins we're in the Super Bowl. I mean how many teams can actually say that? How many people that have played in this league have had the opportunity to say that?"

Posted by kevin.mcdermond@walb.com