Falcons agree to terms with former Chargers running back Turner

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA –- The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent running back Michael Turner on Sunday.

NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports the two sides agreed on a six-year contract worth $34.5 million, including $15 million in guaranteed money.

Turner, 5-10, 237 pounds, was a fifth round selection by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft. In four seasons with the Chargers, he totaled 228 carries for 1,257 yards and six touchdowns while adding 71 receiving yards as he played behind perennial Pro Bowler and 2005 NFL MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Turner has also accounted for three of San Diego's longest 11 rushes in team history (83, 74 and 73 yards) while boasting a 5.5 yards per carry career average.

"We are pleased to be able to add a very talented running back and a player who has produced at a high level in this League when given the opportunity," said Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff. "We think he's ready to take the next step and have a more prominent role in an offense and we are happy he decided that opportunity is going to be here in Atlanta."

Turner tallied 316 yards on 71 carries for a 4.5 yards per carry average last season. In three postseason games, he logged 164 yards on 43 carries filling in for an injured Tomlinson.

Against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, Turner set career highs with 147 rushing yards and a long carry of 74 yards for a touchdown helping the Chargers to a 41-3 victory at Mile High Stadium. The 100-yard performance was the third of his career.

"Besides being a quality football player, Michael Turner is a quality person," added Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. "He is the type of player we are looking for to help build our football team. I'm excited that he is joining the Atlanta Falcons."

The addition of Turner could have implications on the future of veteran rusher Warrick Dunn. With Turner and Jerious Norwood likely to get the bulk of the carries, the veteran Dunn could be a candidate to be released.

Turner's deal also created other ripples. It could mean that the Falcons will not take Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, widely considered one of the top available players in April's NFL Draft, with the third overall selection.

Notes: The Falcons also agree to terms with free-agent tight end Ben Hartsock. Hartsock, who was drafted in the third round in 2004 by Indianapolis, is best known for his blocking ability. He has just 24 catches for 247 yards in 45 career games, including 12 catches for 138 yards with Tennessee last season. Terms of the deal were not released.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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