Atlanta Signs WR Willie Jackson

The Atlanta Falcons announced the signing of WR Willie Jackson, an eight-year NFL veteran who spent the past two seasons with the New Orleans Saints. Terms of the contract are not yet available. Jackson is coming off his best season as in 2001, with 81 receptions for almost 1,050 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Jackson stands in at 6-feet, 1-inch tall and weighs 212 pounds. The former Florida Gator was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL Draft.

Jackson was then picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1995 expansion draft after limited playing time in Dallas. After spending three years in Jacksonville, he was released on the final day of cuts in 1998 and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent the next two years before signing with New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent in 2000.

The Falcons have desperately needed to sign a wide receiver that has proven himself in the National Football League, and Jackson appears to be that guy. After establishing career highs last season in both receptions and yards, the 8-year veteran appears poised to take his game to the next level in Atlanta.

Jackson left the University of Florida ranked as the number two receiver in both receptions (162) and yards (2,172). As a three-year starter, he led the SEC as a junior with 62 catches for 772 yards and was named first-team All-SEC and an honorable-mention All-American.

Jackson was expected to visit the Carolina Panthers and the Washington Redskins in next couple of days, but that won't be necessary now that he's inked a new deal with the Falcons.

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