ANCHORAGE - Cole Magner, a graduate of Palmer's Colony High School, is loving life in the Atlanta Falcons' preseason camp as an undrafted free agent signee.
Magner, a wide receiver who holds the record at Bowling Green State University for receptions, signed a free-agent contract with the Falcons and now his goal is to stick with the team. His contract with the defending NFC South champions has no guarantees, just a small signing bonus.
"I'm focused on one thing: making the team," Magner told the Anchorage Daily News during a phone interview last week from the team's training camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. "It's going to be tough."
If Magner makes Atlanta's final regular-season roster, he will become the eighth Alaska player to earn an NFL roster spot. Two Alaskans saw action last year - defensive tackle Travis Hall (Kenai Central) of the Falcons and defensive back Reggie Tongue (Lathrop) of the New York Jets - but both players were cut during the offseason and are hoping to latch on with new teams this year.
A 2001 Colony High graduate, Magner was an all-state quarterback in high school. He switched to wide receiver in college and finished with a school-record 215 receptions, 2,385 yards and 18 touchdown receptions. He also threw for a couple of touchdowns on option plays and was a key member of the special teams unit.
Magner is one of 11 wide receivers invited to Atlanta's training camp and five, including Magner, are rookies. Only three of the receivers - Brian Finneran, Peerless Price and Dez White - have played more than two seasons.
"I don't see a reason why I wouldn't (make the team)," Magner told the Daily News. "I'm working hard and making clutch passes."
Magner expects to see his first preseason NFL action in Saturday's American Bowl in Tokyo, when the Falcons play an exhibition game against the Indianapolis Colts. Magner said he expects to play much of the second half.
"It should be fun," he said. "I've never traveled overseas."
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