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Falcons interview two candidates for vacant GM position, including former Texans EVP Rick Smith

The Atlanta Falcons have gotten the ball rolling on their search for a new general manager.

The Falcons announced Friday evening that the team conducted virtual interviews with Anthony Robinson, Atlanta's current director of college scouting, and former Texans executive vice president of football operations Rick Smith.

Robinson, who's in his second season in the position, has been with the club for 13 seasons. He began his career as a scouting assistant for three seasons before transitioning to seperate stints as a Southeast area and Eastern region scout.

A member of the Texans' front office for 11 years, Smith announced in December, 2017 that he would be taking a leave of absence to be with his ailing wife. He would not return to the organization.

The Texans opted to hire a firm to replace him as GM, which eventually led to the hiring of Brian Gaine the following month, despite Smith's intention of returning to the team.

After serving as the Broncos' director of pro personnel from 2000-05, Smith became the NFL's youngest GM at the time (36 years old) when he joined Houston in 2006.

Smith served in the role for six years before also becoming EVP in 2012. During his stint with the Texans, Smith was a vital part of the braintrust that drafted the likes of J.J. Watt (11th overall, 2011); DeAndre Hopkins (27th overall, 2013) and Deshaun Watson(12th overall, 2017).

After firing head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff this past October, Falcons owner Arthur Blank told NFL Network's Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter in November that the head coach and GM search would be "rich with diverse candidates."

"Beyond that we're going to interview everybody as though they are the same color," Blank said on an episode of the Huddle & Flow podcast. "Whatever color you want to pick -- red, blue, green, black, white, I don't really care. We're going to look for the very best person."

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