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Falcons RB Devonta Freeman Not Holding Grudge Over Choke Sign by Saints Coach Sean Payton

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, fresh off his most productive performance of the season, isn’t holding a grudge against Saints coach Sean Payton heading into Sunday’s matchup, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.

When the teams met 12 days ago in Week 14, cameras caught Payton making a choke sign in Freeman’s direction near the sideline and mouthing “choke” in the process. It was assumed to be a reference to the Falcons blowing a 25-point lead in a Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, although Payton denied there was anything to it. Payton later texted Freeman to apologize, according to a source.

“I’ll talk to him,” Freeman said, meaning he’ll be cordial with Payton, if the opportunity presents itself. “It ain’t no grudge. I don’t take it personal at all. He’s a competitor. He’s just a top competitor. He loves his job. He’s real passionate about it.”

Freeman said after the first game that Payton “don’t know nothing about choking” in reference to Freeman growing up in the rugged Miami projects. He understands the storyline will resurface this week leading into the rematch.

“Definitely, definitely, but I don’t get caught up in it,” Freeman said. “I don’t care. I try not to pay attention to it, you feel me?”

When asked if a coach shouldn’t make such a gesture toward a player, Freeman said, “I mean, I don’t really get into it. He’s passionate, like I said. He just loves what he do.”


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