A year ago around this time, Atlanta Falcons fans were raving about Kerry Meier, a fifth-round rookie WR out of Kansas. I still remember seeing him lay out for a deep pass that had bypassed the end zone -- he nearly came up with it, but it was impressive that he went after a ball that most receivers, even those fighting for a roster spot, would've given up on.
Weeks later, he suffered a knee injury in a preseason game and was done for the year.
During last year's camp, he started drawing comparisons to Brian Finneran, which might seem like one of those super convenient sports comparisons fans and writers make based on skin tone (Jimmer Fredette? Larry Bird!), but it's clear Finn left quite a mark on the young receiver.
SB Nation Atlanta: How's it feel to be back out there?
Kerry Meier: Oh man. It feels great. With all the rule changes taking place, things are a little different right now, but it's football and we're on the field, and it feels great to run around.
SB Nation Atlanta: How'd you feel about Kansas beating Georgia Tech last year?
Kerry Meier: It was kind of a shocker coming off the first week, when we lost to, like, North Dakota State. Then to bounce back and get a big win against Georgia Tech was definitely something that surprised me. It just displays what kind of talent they have if they come out to play. That's what they need to do this year is be consistent. It's gonna be a challenge in the "Big 10" that used to be the Big 12. They're playing Texas and OU every year now, so they gotta be on top of their game if they want to play late in the season. I hope everything goes well for them and think they have a good season ahead of them.
SB Nation Atlanta: You and Sean Weatherspoon go back and forth over the Border War rivalry?
Kerry Meier: We did a little bit. Not too much during the season, but as soon as that week rolls around we'll kinda bicker back and forth and reminisce on the games we had -- I think he got me twice, but I got him once. Not just me and Spoon, but me and Willy Mo. It's kinda two on one.
SB Nation Atlanta: Gotta get another Kansas guy.
Kerry Meier: Exactly. Hopefully this year we can get them back.
SB Nation Atlanta: What's it like looking to one side and seeing Julio Jones and looking to another and seeing Roddy White?
Kerry Meier: It's great. Look at the left, look at the right, and you're looking at a whole lot of talent. Not just those two guys. The whole corps. Harry all the way to Strick. It's a talented corps. Throw Tony G. in there, an All-Pro-level quarterback like Matt. Hopefully it will all come together to make a pretty deadly wide receiver corps.
SB Nation Atlanta: What's one thing you picked up from Brian Finneran?
Kerry Meier: A lot of things. It's hard to pick just one thing. The big thing is the way he carries himself on and off the field. Talk about guys that have been around and seen a lot of things. I can't think him enough. He may not feel like he did a whole lot for me. But just watching him was the biggest thing. He kind of took me in from day one when I got here during OTAs. All the way through the season, even when I busted my knee up, he was right there sending me texts and checking on me. I can't thank him enough. I wish him the best of luck.
SB Nation Atlanta: He practiced with you guys this summer. Are you still in touch?
Kerry Meier: Yeah, a little bit. I got to speak with him quite a bit. Worked out with him a few times. He's in pretty good spirits. He seems like he still wants to get out and play somewhere. I'm not sure of his status quite yet, he's pretty busy now, but it was good being able to work with him.
SB Nation Atlanta: How's the knee?
Kerry Meier: It's doing good. Feeling really good. I'm very pleased to finally get it ready. I've been working out and rehabbing for so long, and I got into a routine where I could run routes and do all the stuff on air. Got to where I kind of want to do a sound check to see where I'm at. We'll get after it and see how it feels. Right now I'm pretty confident it'll get me where I need to be.