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How the Falcons Found Jared Bernhardt, the Lacrosse Star Turned NFL Receiver

by Tori McElhaney, Falcons Beat Reporter/Analyst

Oct 12, 2022 at 05:15 PM

The story is actually a really simple one

(Note, multiple videos in the article, including the main 11-minute documentary piece)


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The story of how the Falcons found Jared Bernhardt is actually not at all complicated. The story in and of itself is actually really simple.

Why? Because Bernhardt (the national championship winning lacrosse player turned triple option Ferris State quarterback who made the Atlanta Falcons 53-man roster all in the span of two year’s time) caught Arthur Smith’s attention.

Per Kyle Smith, the Falcons vice president of player personnel, it was Arthur Smith who initially pointed the Falcons in Bernhardt’s direction. It wasn’t a scout out on the road who just so happened to come across Bernhardt. It was the head coach, himself.

“Coach Smith brought his name up,” Kyle Smith said of the person who kick-started the process of vetting Bernhardt.

Arthur Smith follows every sport, Kyle Smith continued, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, you name it, he follows it.

The Falcons head coach grew up not too far from the University of Maryland, where Bernhardt would one day help the lacrosse team to its first national title in 42 years. In fact, Arthur Smith went to school at Georgetown Prep in Washington, D.C., about a 30-minute drive from College Park, where Bernhardt would one day became the nation’s leading scorer, winning the Tewaaraton Award (lacrosse’s version of the Heisman trophy) in 2021.

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