The Falcons took a risk on Shembo, who’s now an ex-Falcon

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072614-falcons-bs17

Prince Shembo: A Falcon no longer. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

The Atlanta Falcons knew there was a risk in drafting Prince Shembo. While at Notre Dame, he’d been investigated for sexual battery of a Saint Mary’s College freshman named Lizzy Seeberg, who 10 days after the alleged assault killed herself with an overdose of the antidepressant Effexor. Shembo was never charged with a crime or suspended by the Irish.

The Falcons decided Shembo was worth hiring. They made him the 139th player taken in the 2014 draft. On the day they chose him, general manager Thomas Dimitroff said: “We’re very, very aware of the seriousness of the incident … We used a lot of (investigative) resources at many levels. We’ve done our due diligence.”

On Friday, Shembo was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a felony, in Gwinnett County. This was the Falcons’ response: They waived him.

There are a lot of ways to play yourself off an NFL team, but there’s none quicker than to be a Falcon and be accused of killing a dog. The end of the Michael Vick Era remains the most emotionally charged time in this franchise’s history, and given this franchise’s history that’s saying something.

Given the outcome, it’s tempting — almost irresistible — to say that the Falcons should have known better than to draft Shembo, but how exactly do you know such a thing? How do you look at a draft board on May 10, 2014, and foresee that, barely a year later, a guy will be charged with killing his ex-girlfriend’s Yorkie?

The Falcons insisted they did their homework and asked the right questions. Melinda Hennenberger, who wrote extensively on Seberg’s death, reported that Shembo was suspended by his high school for throwing a table at a teacher who’d taken his cell phone. Surely the Falcons had read that article. (If they hadn’t, their diligence was duly lacking.)

Truth to tell, it would have been easier not to draft Shembo — he was a fourth-rounder, and fourth-rounders aren’t locks to play an NFL down — and avoid the are-you-really-sure-about-this-guy questions. The Falcons liked what they’d heard and were willing to suffer the scrutiny. Now they’re suffering the consequences.

Life would be so much easier if we could see the future, but none of us can. The Falcons took a risk, and when it went wrong they did the only thing they could do: They dumped Prince Shembo.

Reader Comments 0

102 comments
sacks
sacks

How about this risk's;;;;;R.Morris as assistant head coach???? What has he Ever done in the nfl coaching ranks????  That draft pick who was busted 3 times for doobies  and dont forget the R.B. with fractured foot..

candlin14
candlin14

Lets take Prince Shembo and pass on Hardy, or Ray Rice, or Peterson. Dummytroff is a fool... Tack Shembo on the list of awful decisions our un-fireable GM makes....

DrPhill
DrPhill

Obviously Shembo's life was endangered by this vicious hound from hell, and he had to defend himself.

USMC6511
USMC6511

I agree with Truefan1,what a dumba$$! Here he had a second chance and didn't realize the implication of his actions. I would find it difficult to understand that Shimbo hasn't heard of M Vick. Yes, he should go see Jerry Jones. Jerry takes everything including your money.

MaxMose
MaxMose

maybe this dude can get picked up by oakland, dallas, or baltimore---they like the bad boys, the rule breakers, the troublemakers!!  just win baby!!

pride
pride

Who takes a chance on someone that potentially helped cause a young persons death. Only someone with no integrity.

TrueFan1
TrueFan1

what a dumb a$$ shembo is.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

This bum wasnt seeing the field anyway with all the new acquisitions...if he couldnt make an impact on the worst D in the league he wasnt gonna do much this year.  Too slow to play outside, too weak to play the middle.  NO loss here so shut up cry babies...glad we cut this idiot 

sbatl
sbatl

I guess that TD will have to clarify when he says "4th round picks usually don't make much of an impact,"....HIS 4th round picks make little impact on the field BUT plenty in the public opinion arena! I feel that TD tries way too hard to find the "diamond in the rough" type player so he can prove to everyone how much of a genius he is. TD is a joke and should be fired. 

Kennyd_va
Kennyd_va

Dumb "A" Dallas will sign him.........   

JONBONBON
JONBONBON

Has Tommy Dimitri fired his barber yet?

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Should have dumped J Babiwussy as well when he killed 2 of his girlfriends dogs. Guess Falcoons mgmt was willing to overlook that one.................

SeanLB
SeanLB

Very thorough.  Great response.  

AHLong
AHLong

@GeorgeJetsen I thought about the Babineaux case too when this news broke, but I looked it up and the facts are pretty different.  The charges against Babineaux were actually dismissed.  Of course, this does not mean he was innocent, just that the DA felt there was not enough evidence to convict him.  The dog that was killed was a pit bull and Babineaux claimed that he was protecting his 2 year old child.  I tried to post a link to ESPN's story in a reply earlier, but it didn't get through.  If you just google Jonathan Babineaux and dog, you'll see the story about the dismissal of the charges.  I'm not defending Babineaux.  The fact remains that he had an argument with his girlfriend, her dog dies and he gets arrested.  But, given that the charges were dropped and the situation dealt with an aggressive breed of dog and a child, I would not call the Falcons hypocritical for keeping Babineaux but cutting Shembo who killed a harmless Yorkie.  (And, pit bull lovers, I know you'll want to defend how docile and amazing your dog is and how hyperbolic the statistics of its aggression are, but I think you'll have to agree that pit bulls have killed more people than Yorkshire Terriers.)

Gman84
Gman84

But wait, doesn't Artie have his infamous "Falcons Filter" to take a tough stand against permitting bad actors on the team? I suppose if a victim is so distraught she kills herself it's an all-clear to draft a loser like "Prince"

Blank has turned out to be such a gasbag and a complete bumbling fool as football owner.

Maybe he can sweep this under the rug by charging the military more for honoring vets, turning up the fake noise in his new taxpayer-extorted profit palace with TD running the show ( simultaneously promoted and demoted for his utter incompetence) along with his 4th head coach in 10 years all while making out publicly on the sidelines with his new GF.

Any wonder the Falcons have reverted to their norm as bottom-feeders?

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

LOL...the brilliance of TD strikes again. Another star on his recruiting flag. "They did their due diligence but didn't see this coming"...lol, I mean really, why did they even waste time doing any due diligence? Based on the few items you've mentioned, which were probably widely known and thus took little uncovering, they should have moved on right away. There are too many talented players around to be looking at dirt bags with these kind of issues. TD still acting like a rookie recruiter. AB should see the writing on the wall for TD like TD should have seen it on Shembo.

AABraves
AABraves

Dirty Birds are on a quick decline. This pick, the fan noise controversy, and what will end up being a bust for a draft. These are all signs there should have been more firings.. Yet some just have a Blank stare!

AABraves
AABraves

I have done my due diligence and yes TOODIM should be fired!

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Shembo's lawyer said Shembo feared for his life and was just trying to protect himself from a vicious dog attack and that he is a kind and gentle soul  

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Infraredguy Have you ever known a defense lawyer who would actually tell the truth??  I haven't! What do you call two lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A GOOD START!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AHLong
AHLong

@Infraredguy Really???  Wow!  It was a Yorkshire Terrier!  The NFL linebacker (or should I say ex-NFL linebacker) killed a 3 pound cuddly ball of fluff. What was the dog going to do... snuggle him to death?

beckster308
beckster308

How about stop rewarding thugs/criminals with professional or college sports positions?  Stop overlooking these guys' pasts and trouble signs just because they can perform well in one way or another.  Save the honor of playing at this level for guys who are good both on and off the field and you might see a change in all these headlines.  

tlmaddox
tlmaddox

I wish they'd give Brian Banks a call.

extremus
extremus

It takes a pretty low individual to do the kinds of things to an animal that were revealed by that autopsy.  I don't care if this thug was the next HOF mega-star; if character means anything at all (and it should), I wouldn't want him on my team or representing the city it plays for.

SeanLB
SeanLB

Next man up.  While I know that he was young, the only thing that stood out about this guy was his shady nature.


At the end of the day, he's obviously an idiot, so why cry over spilled milk?  You blew it buddy.  That stinks, but it's true.  Nobody to blame but yourself.  

JacketMan
JacketMan

TD has a history of drafting players with previous issues, including injuries (see Peria Jerry which ended up being a wasted 1st Round Draft pick), so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it would have been HIM to pull the trigger on THIS choice, too. At some point you need to look at the roster and say who was responsible for assembling it, how did they play, and what kind of "citizens" did they turn out to be?

If the GM ended up striking out on a lot more players than his counterparts, then facts are facts regardless of the head football coach.

Intruder
Intruder

Drafting Shembo was no big deal in the National Felony League.

swarm
swarm

How does anyone on here know that Smith made the call? You don't. Never heard of Smith making draft picks.

She wasn't his ex until he brutally killed her dog. Prince is a Dumb A$$ D Bag!

MrFish
MrFish

@swarm If TD is too weak and so stupid as a GM to let his coach make draft decisions then that is all the reason one needs to can his weak dumb a@@

reckingball
reckingball

A lot of folks blaming Dimitrof,.......but it was probably Mike Smith, that wanted to draft this guy.

gt51
gt51

@reckingball doesnt' matter if mike smith wanted to draft prince.  its td's responsibility for drafting players.  tired of td getting a pass for mike smiths poor decisions.  nothing but excuses.  just like the press conference when mike smith was fired

MrFish
MrFish

@reckingball If TD is too weak and so stupid as a GM to let his coach make draft decisions then that is all the reason one needs to can his weak dumb a@@

reckingball
reckingball

Yeah, .......yeah that sounds good, Smith,......it's all his fault.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

There's no way to sugar-coat this, losing a talented young linebacker hurts. The past two seasons we've witnessed some of the worst linebacker play I've seen since I started following the NFL back in the early 60's. Shembo was part of that group, but he flashed more talent and upside than the other stiffs.

camelToeJoe
camelToeJoe

@DawgDadII


Ehh, ok.  He was slow and ineffective.  Otherwise, he would not have been released.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@DawgDadII  I guess I must have missed that play?  Must have gone for a beer.

He may be back!  He said, thru his lawyer, that the kicking, punching and throwing the dog against a wall was an accident. Shembo said he never intended to hurt the puppy!  If I were he, I would not ask for a jury trail on this felony count.