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Mike Smith coy on Michael Turner's Falcons future


INDIANAPOLIS -- Is Michael Turner's tenure with the Atlanta Falcons over? Coach Mike Smith declined to confirm or deny any report of Turner's future at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Falcons are likely to release the running back, who's set to make $6.9 million in 2013.

"This time of the year, there's tough decisions that have to be made," Smith said. "We're recalibrating our roster as we speak in terms of going through that process. Michael's under contract right now, and we'll continue to go through the process in terms of how we're going to recalibrate it. Myself, (owner) Mr. (Arthur) Blank and (general manager) Thomas (Dimitroff) have had numerous discussions.

"There's a cause and effect to every decision that you make at this time of the year. You're dealing with the salary cap, and those decisions will work themselves out the next couple weeks."

The Falcons' offense has evolved into a pass-first attack with quarterback Matt Ryan as the centerpiece, flanked by Julio Jones and Roddy White. That's a change from Turner's first four years in Atlanta when he rushed for 1,300 yards in 2010 and 2011 and nearly 1,700 yards in 2008. He made the Pro Bowl twice and led the league in carries twice. He ranked No. 2 in carries in 2011, but he ran for just 800 yards in 2012.

Turner, who turned 31 last week, isn't worth $6.9 million at this stage of his career. We all know what happens to running backs after 30, and Turner took a ton of hits those first four years in Atlanta. If the Falcons don't release Turner, there's sure to be some kind of contract restructuring.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.


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