Harland Gunn

Colts add to offensive line depth with guard Harland Gunn

With offensive lineman Hugh Thornton out for the foreseeable future, the Indianapolis Colts added depth at guard with signing of Harland Gunn on Friday, the team announced.

The 6-foot-2, 310-pound Gunn appeared in 13 games over the last two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, including a start against the New York Giants last year. He was with the New England Patriots in training camp this summer, but was waived Aug. 6. 

An undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami, Gunn spent 2012 training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, before being waived. Gunn then spent 11 weeks on the New Orleans Saints practice squad before the Falcons signed him to the active roster in November of 2012.

Gunn becomes the latest former Hurricane to join the Colts, including running back Frank Gore, wide receivers Andre Johnson and Phillip Dorsett and tight end Erik Swoope. 

He'll compete with veterans Joe Reitz and David Arkin for time as a backup guard. Head coach Chuck Pagano announced Thursday that Thornton is "week-to-week" after suffering a knee injury in practice Wednesday.

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Patriots Release Harland Gunn

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots reshuffled their 90-man roster Thursday, releasing one player and signing two.

The Patriots cut offensive lineman Harland Gunn, who was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Patriots signed tight end Mason Brodine and offensive lineman Mark Asper.

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Falcons Release Harland Gunn, Signed Quickly After

The Falcons signed one offensive lineman and released another, the team announced Saturday. The team signed offensive lineman Pierce Burton and released guard Harland Gunn. Gunn was subsequently signed by the Patriots.

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Harland Gunn gives Falcons a veteran option at center

LONDON — During the Falcons’ open portion of practice, offensive lineman Harland Gunn was working on his snaps at center with starting quarterback Matt Ryan at the Arsenal Football Club training ground on Wednesday.

Gunn was inactive last week against Baltimore.

With Peter Konz (knee) on injured reserve, Gunn gives the Falcons a veteran option to play center. Undrafted rookie James Stone finished the Baltimore game, playing 56 of the 66 offensive snaps.

“I think James is a very good young football player that understands the game,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He impressed us early on with his ability to identify fronts and change protections. He’s an intelligent young guy, but he just doesn’t have any experience.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said he’s glad the team is away and in a hotel because he’s had extra time to watch film with Stone in order to make sure they are on the same page.

“James has done a great job since the first day he walked into the building,” Ryan said. “He’s a smart guy and has picked up our offense very quickly. I think (line coach) Mike Tice and (assistant line coach) Wade (Harman) have done a good job of working with our young guys.”

Gunn has played in just four NFL games, with one start. With Justin Blalock out with a back injury, he started at left guard earlier this season against the Giants.
Gunn wasn’t drafted out of the University of Miami in 2012 and was signed by the Cowboys. After Dallas cut him Gunn ended up on the Saints’ practice squad until the Falcons signed him to their 53-man roster for the final six weeks. Gunn didn’t play in a game that season, played in three games for the Falcons in 2013 and began this season on the practice squad.

The center will play a key role against Detroit’s stout defensive front.

“We are going to have to be solid up front,” Ryan said. “We really are. We are going to have to play well up front and account for where those guys are at. That’s what we are working on right now.”

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Behind The Facemask: Harland Gunn

Frank Kleha: What was your first car?
Harland Gunn: It was an old white Ford Explorer. All the lights stayed on all the time (on the dashboard); the brake light, the engine light, all of them. I bought it used and it was a true bucket. Not soon after I got it I went and traded it in for a Blazer.

FK: What kinds of things do you like to do outside of football?
HG: If I’m not taking in a movie or dinner I play video games on XBox One. A new game I just started playing that I like is Destiny. I also play Call of Duty. I’m a first-person shooter guy and don’t really play Madden because especially during our season I like to get away from the fake football.

FK: What type of movies do you like best?
HG: I like comedies. Some of my favorites are "Kings of Comedy" and "Harlem Nights," but I love action movies, too. I grew up watching Bruce Lee movies like "Enter the Dragon." That’s my all-time favorite. Also, I do like "Blade," with Wesley Snipes, and " Diehard" with Bruce Willis.

FK: Who is your favorite athlete in another sport?
HG: I never watched sports growing up. Seriously, no one played sports in my family. I watched TV shows instead like "Dragon Ball Z" and watched a lot of Disney shows like "Growing Pains." Even when I got to college my teammates would talk about big-name players that I was supposed to know and I didn’t know who they were. Like they asked me about (Hall of Fame Bears running back) Walter Payton and I said, ‘Who is that.’ (Pro or College) Football was foreign to me growing up. I just played it.

FK: How did you get started in football then?
HG: The movie "Little Giants" got me started playing football. I got home early from school one day and I was sitting in the house with my mom watching TV and that movie came on. I said, ‘"Mom, I want to play football. I want to try football." My uncle (Scott English) played it at Iowa State and I would always go over his house and see his Iowa State pictures on the walls. My mom told me that my uncle was now a coach and I could go see him. I was around seven-years old and I’ve been playing it ever since. The only other sport I played was one year of organized basketball when I was 9 years-old but I didn’t like.

FK: What’s your most vivid sports memory?
HG: We were playing little league football and we went into double overtime against the Bellevue Panthers. We were the North Omaha (Nebraska) Bengals. I just remember fighting so hard to win that game and we didn’t. (In overtime) one of my teammates (on the line) was like, "I’m tired; we aren’t gonna do this. I’m about to let it go." And I couldn’t believe he said that. I told him, "No man, we have to win this game." He quit on me; we lost and I cried after the game telling the coach, "he quit on me." I always think about because I’m not going to quit on the next man. That really hurt.

FK: What’s strangest thing we would find in your suitcase when we go on road trips?
HG: I take my own protein shakes (pack of four) with me to keep my energy up. I just drink them warm and they taste just fine like that. They are called Lean Shakes.

FK: If you could sit down with any four people in history for dinner who it would be?
HG: They would be Jesus, Martin Luther King, and my great grandparents. I think I would I would gain a lot of insight on my family talking to my great grandparents.

FK: What was your Hollywood crush growing up?
HG: Halle Berry. She is so pretty and is a good actress.

FK: Name one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
HG: Most people don’t know that before I was born, my mother had two near fatal car accidents. She didn’t lose me the first time but she nearly did. They found out at that time of the first accident that she was pregnant with me. When it happened again, I don’t know how far along she was, but she was scared about losing me.

FK: Other than a pro football player, what did you want to be growing up?
HG: I wanted to be an engineer because I was always good in math and it came to me naturally. My first year in college I started off in engineering school.

FK: If you were required to perform in a talent show, what talent could you do?
HG: I could do b-boy dancing and I would be poppin’ a lot; b-boxing. My father was a DJ (Big Harland) growing up. I still clown at the house all the time. It’s called poppin’ and lockin’. That’s what I could do.

FK: What is the greatest invention ever?
HG: The dishwasher is the greatest invention. I hate washing dishes. I would be angry if I didn’t have a dishwasher. I would have disposable everything if I didn’t have a dishwasher.

FK: Is there anything you wish would come back in to fashion?
HG: Kango hats. I’ve never worn one but I’ve always wanted to.

FK: Do you a hat collection?
HG: Yes, I have about 10 hats right now. I have basketball and college football teams. I have an old Raiders hat and I have a lot of bucket hats. That’s my thing right now is bucket hats. My favorite is Brooklyn Nets. I just like the color scheme.

FK: Fictional character do you wish was real?
HG: The Juggernaut. He’s a super villain in the Marvel comic book series. He’s an unstoppable force. Whatever he hits, he just runs through it.

FK: What’s the worst gift you ever received?
HG: I hate to say this but I got a pair of socks and a book for Christmas one year. My brother got like a remote control car and my sister got something good. And I got socks and a book!

FK: Have you ever been star struck?
HG: Yes, when I met Tony Gonzalez. My uncle loved watching him play and he said, "I can’t believe you are on the same sideline with Tony Gonzalez." So I thought that was cool.

FK: What are three things on your bucket list?
HG: I’d like to climb a mountain. I want to go skydiving and I want to go snowboarding down a nice slope.

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Harland Gunn, Robert Alford take some blame

No one in the locker room seemed to regret the fourth-and-1 pass play the Falcons attempted with 4 minutes, 40 seconds left in regulation and trailing 27-20. But newly inserted left guard Harland Gunn, just promoted from the practice squad, did regret allowing quarterback Matt Ryan to be sacked for a 9-yard loss on the play as Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins made the big stop. "I took a bad set," Gunn said heading to the bus. "The guy read it and made a good play. It happens. It's sad to say it happened to me. I'll watch it, review it, get better and get ready for the next game."

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Harland Gunn likely to start

The Atlanta Falcons suffered three high-profile injury losses in their catastrophic loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, and the area that was hardest hit for Mike Smith’s team was the offensive line. Both Joe Hawley and Lamar Holmes have been placed on injured reserve, but in addition to that, long-time stalwart Justin Blalock has been absent from practice after leaving the Minnesota game early.

With Blalock’s continued injury concerns, the Falcons appear to be moving on with the plan to deploy Harland Gunn as the starter at left guard when the team travels to the Big Apple to take on the New York Giants.

Positively, it appears as if Blalock’s injury will not cost him any additional time, but it seems to be the consensus that he will need another week to heal, and that leaves an already battered unit even more short-handed. As of this post, the most likely scenario would be a line of Jake Matthews, Harland Gunn, Peter Konz, Jon Asamoah and Gabe Carimi (from left to right), but while that unit certainly isn’t ideal, it is still likely an upgrade on the majority of work from the 2013 season.

Definitive word on Blalock’s status likely won’t come down until later in the week, but it is time to familiarize ourselves with Harland Gunn as a starting NFL offensive lineman.

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Harland Gunn Signed To Active Roster

The Falcons made a number of roster moves today, signing 3 players to their 53 man roster after moving Lamar Holmes, Joe Hawley, and William Moore to injured reserve. You may be familiar with a couple of the guys, but here's a quick breakdown.

Harland Gunn
Miami product and former member of the Cowboys' and Saints' practice squads. In college, he had 4 different head coaches, which probably didn't help him in the pre-draft process. Still, in his last 2 years at Miami, he didn't give up a single sack or draw any penalties. Damn. Gunn has been with the Falcons since 2012 and played in three games last season (weeks 15, 16, and 17), spending the rest of the year on the practice squad.

He hung around until the end of August and was ultimately cut. The Falcons wasted no time signing him to the practice squad and for what it's worth, he's widely regarded as a prospect, someone with the potential to contribute to the 53 man roster. That's not always the case with practice squad players, and Gunn might've cracked the 53 man roster anyway this season. Injuries just accelerated that process.

If you recall, Gunn turned in a dominating run blocking performance in week 15. In just 19 snaps, he logged a 1.1 rating as a run blocker. That's pretty darn good. And in 93 snaps over those three games, he gave up just 3 quarterback hurries and 1 quarterback hit. For someone who was thrown in at the end of the season and surrounded by a laughable excuse for an offensive line, he held his own.

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Harland Gunn To Get Promotion From The Practice Squad?

Gunn was one of the surprise cuts at the end of August, and he could help bring some stability to the interior of the offensive line if Justin Blalock and/or Joe Hawley miss time. We'll see if this happens.

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Latest proCane Cuts & Signings

It was one of the busiest NFL proCane roster cut weekends of all-time. See below all the action.

WR LaRon Byrd was cut by the Dallas Cowboys who signed him this offseason, but was quickly picked up by the Cleveland Browns and placed on their active roster.

DB Brandon Harris was cut by the Texans, who drafted him out of Miami 3 years ago, but was also quickly picked up and added to the Titans active roster.

Practice Squad Signings: Stephen Morris: Jags, Tommy Streeter: Dolphins, Chase Ford: Vikings, Erik Swoope: Colts, Brandon Washington: Rams, Harland Gunn: Falcons, Micanor Regis: Panthers, Asante Cleveland: 49ers.

Cuts: Maurice Hagens: Falcons, Eric Winston: Seahawks, Richard Gordon: Chiefs, Tyler Horn: Titans, Jared Wheeler: Bills.

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Falcons, Harland Gunn Falcons team up with 'Challenged Child and Friends'


Atlanta Falcons guard Harland Gunn signs a football for Grey Vetter, 8, of Gainesville during the Challanged Child & Friends bowling event at Dave & Busters at Sugarloaf Mills Mall in Lawrenceville on Wednesday. (Photo: Chris Roughgarden)

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Offensive line self-evaluation: Harland Gunn

No one expected much from Harland Gunn during the 2013 season, so it was a bonus when the Atlanta Falcons offensive guard showed an ability to run block late in the season.

In fact, he probably showed more promise than any other right guard at season’s end, with Garrett Reynolds losing his starting job to demoted center Peter Konz, then Konz losing reps to Gunn.

Not to say Gunn is the answer at the position. He still has a lot of growing to do. He might, however, be a player new offensive line coch Mike Tice can develop and get the best out of.

Here’s Gunn's self-evaluation of his limited playing time in ’13:

Harland Gunn
Position: guard
Age: 24
Contract status: Signed through 2014 ($570,000 cap number in 2014)
2013 games played/starts: 3/0
Snaps: 93

Overview: Gunn was inactive for the first 13 games before the coaching staff decided it was time to give him a long look. The former undrafted player from Miami (Fla.) actually made an immediate impact as a blocker, though Gunn wasn’t quite ready for prime time after watching from the sideline so long. Since Gunn is inexpensive, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Falcons kept him around for depth. But he’s probably not ready to be a starter despite some positive signs.

Gunn’s self-evaluation: "I felt like it was an awesome experience; it was a great learning experience, especially how it all played out. Of course I didn’t play in the earlier parts of the season, but I played in the last parts of it. I got to get some last-minute experience. It was a great deal for me to take everything that I learned from playing in the last few games and carry that into the offseason with my training and getting my skills better and really coming out next year and being a true contributing player to the team. Game experience is everything in this league. You get to learn guys, learn how the game is played, learn the tempo of it.

"One thing I’m really focusing on this offseason is this is a passing league, so, as always, I’m going to get bigger, faster, and stronger. But I really want to focus on my skills and honing in on how focused I am with my skill work and executing.’’

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proCanes Represent More Than Any Other School on NFL Championship Weekend

In all, as many as 212 players will participate in the AFC and NFC championship games on Sunday – four teams, 53 players per team. When including players not on the active rosters of the four teams playing for a shot at the Super Bowl, however, the total jumps to more than 250.

The schools represented on the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens range from college football's elite (Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and Florida) to those situated far outside the national picture (Hillsdale, Bellhaven, Lane and Indiana).

Here are the eight schools most represented by the four teams playing Sunday for a trip to the Super Bowl:

1. Miami (Fla.): 12. P Matt Bosher, OL Harland Gunn, DL Micanor Regis (Atlanta); LB Tavares Gooden, RB Frank Gore (San Francisco); DL Vince Wilfork, DL Marcus Forston (New England); LB Ray Lewis, OL Bryant McKinnie, RB Damien Berry, WR Tommy Streeter, S Ed Reed (Baltimore).

2. (tie) Oregon: 7. WR Drew Davis (Atlanta); RB LaMichael James, FB Will Tukuafu (San Francisco); TE Ed Dickson, DL Haloti Ngata, QB Dennis Dixon (Baltimore).

2. (tie) Florida: 7. LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta); DL Ray McDonald (San Francisco); DL Jermaine Cunningham, RB Jeff Demps, TE Aaron Hernandez, LB Brandon Spikes (New England); WR Deonte Thompson (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Alabama: 6. OL Mike Johnson, WR Julio Jones (Atlanta); DL Brandon Deaderick, LB Dont'a Hightower (New England); DL Terrence Cody, LB Courtney Upshaw (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Iowa: 6. DL Jonathan Babineaux (Atlanta); LB Jeff Tarpinian, TE Brad Herman, OL Markus Zusevics (New England); S Sean Considine, OL Marshal Yanda (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Texas: 6. OL Justin Blalock (Atlanta); CB Tarell Brown, OL Leonard Davis (San Francisco); OL Kyle Hix (New England); CB Chykie Brown, K Justin Tucker (Baltimore).

4. (tie) South Carolina: 6. DL John Abraham, DL Cliff Matthews, DL Travian Robertson, CB Dunta Robinson (Atlanta); S Emanuel Cook, CB Chris Culliver (Baltimore).

4. (tie) Ohio State: 6. OL Alex Boone, WR Ted Ginn Jr., LB Larry Grant, S Donte Whitner (San Francisco); TE Jake Ballard, S Nate Ebner (New England).
Another eight schools have five players on the rosters: Arizona State, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, UCF, Rutgers, Syracuse and Illinois.

Teams with four players: Oklahoma State, Marshall, Michigan, Fresno State, Utah, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Louisville, LSU and Georgia Tech.

Three players: Auburn, Wisconsin, Maryland, California, Wake Forest, Florida State, Penn State, Kansas, Purdue, Northwestern, Texas Tech and Arkansas.

Two players: Baylor, Michigan State, Stanford, Boston College, Clemson, Connecticut, ECU, Oregon State, Richmond, San Jose State, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, TCU, UCLA, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, Delaware, Iowa State, Colorado, Tennessee State, Nebraska, Buffalo, Arizona and Washburn.

Luck of the draw plays a role, of course, but it's a bit surprising to see that schools like Virginia Tech, USC, Oklahoma and Texas A&M only have one player each on the four rosters. Not surprising? That one player represents schools like Prairie View A&M, Lane, Harvard, Weber State, Chadron State (Danny Woodhead), Hillsdale and Hofstra (which no longer has a football program).

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