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Falcons coach Smith closes door on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

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Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith confirmed Monday to NFL Network's Scott Hanson that the team will not participate in HBO's "Hard Knocks" series this year.

Smith said the Falcons had internal discussions about the show, which gives viewers an all-access look at training camp, but came to the decision that they won't do it in 2011.

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Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said last week that he hadn't ruled out letting his team, which went 13-3 and won the NFC South last season, be featured on the show.

"I truly believe that an organization has to be in the right spot to jump into something like 'Hard Knocks,'" Dimitroff said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I think it sheds a lot of light on our league. This is a league of entertainment. There are some traditionalists that struggle with it, but they have to work against the grain a little bit and see that this is about entertainment. 'Hard Knocks' is a good show for the fan base."

Dimitroff said the Falcons turned down an offer to be on the show in 2009 because it seemed like it would be a distraction.

"It's such an individual thing," he said. "'Hard Knocks' could be right for some of the teams that are fairly entrenched. It could be right for some team that wants to kick off some more brand recognition."

It wasn't right for the NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who declined an offer to be featured on the show. The Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and the New York Jets also reportedly have said they won't do the show.

Critically acclaimed "Hard Knocks," which featured the boisterous Jets last year, won three Sports Emmys earlier this month, including its second consecutive in the "outstanding edited sports series/anthology" category. The three Emmys are the most for one season of "Hard Knocks."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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