10 Minutes With Falcons RB Jason Snelling

Jason Snelling (Kevin Cox/Getty Images)

Jason Snelling lead the Atlanta Falcons in rushing last week against the Dallas Cowboys. He shares his thoughts on that game, the team's big upcoming division battle with the Saints, and his dedication to spreading awareness about epilepsy in this exclusive interview with Scout.com's Ed Thompson.

Ed Thompson: Let's talk a little bit about last Sunday's game against Dallas. I know your team didn't come out on the side of it that you would have liked, but you had a great day, leading the team in rushing. 

Jason Snelling: Oh man, I had an opportunity to get an increased role. The coaches dialed my number and I was able to run the ball a little bit more than I have in the past. It was a lot of fun and I just tried to spark the team and help the team do whatever it takes to win. We came up a little short. I have to give it to the Cowboys, they played well, were well- prepared and they were just better than us on Sunday. We just have to bounce back because we have a really big opponent coming up this Monday night against the Saints.

Thompson: You had seven rushes for 68 yards, including a big 31-yard running play. Talk a little bit about what you saw on that play and how it developed for you.

Snelling: It was an inside the zone play, I read it and was able to bounce outside, beating the linebacker outside, and after that I tried to get to the secondary as fast as possible. I have to give it to my line, they made great blocks and made my run easy. It was mostly just my line putting up good blocks, and I just had to do the rest. 

Thompson: Jason, what did you see from that Dallas defense that maybe was a little bit surprising versus what you guys saw on the film from them?

Snelling: Up front they swarm the ball and they are fast. They played with a lot of intensity on Sunday-- that's the main thing-- they played with a lot of intensity and energy. And I think that was pretty much the outcome of the game. At the end they just had their intensity and they made plays that we didn't.

Thompson: Let's talk about the good work you've been doing regarding epilepsy, why it's important to you and how you hope to help others.

Snelling: As a person with epilepsy and living out my dreams, any chance I get to talk or attend an event, I'm willing to do it. It's an honor to be in the situation that I am in, to help spread awareness and to help anybody in any way that I can. I've been part of the National Epilepsy Walk and the Epilepsy Foundation. I enjoy speaking out and trying to spread awareness for something that is really put on the back burner. It's something that a lot of people deal with every day.

Thompson: Jason, I know you have a website at www.JasonSnelling.com, and it really brings out some interesting points. I think that one of the most interesting ones is that epilepsy is not a disease, it's a condition. 


Snelling has a well-rounded skill set as a rusher, receiver and blocker.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Snelling: It's not something that a lot of people know about, so when they see the symptoms that come along with it, it kind of scares people because they don't really know what it is. It's a neuro thing, it affects your nerves, so it's not something that you could catch or is contagious. On the web page, the first thing I tried to do is give some awareness, education, and knowledge about what epilepsy is because it can be a scary thing for the friends and family of the people that have it.

Thompson: If I remember correctly, you were having some problems with dizziness and migraines during your freshman year of college at the University of Virginia.

Snelling: Oh yeah, I had to deal with migraines and the epilepsy from early on in my freshman year all the way to my sophomore year where I actually couldn't play. There was a time that I actually had to take a redshirt because of my health. My epilepsy wasn't where I needed it to be. Through the help of good doctors and with the medication, I was able to bounce back and continue on with my career.

Thompson: I think you're being modest when you simply say you continued your career. At Virginia, you ran for 1,300 yards, scored 10 rushing touchdowns, caught 84 passes for 775 yards and four more scores. And you also left there with a very good reputation as a lead blocker. I think those numbers are a shining example to people of what can be accomplished when you just learn to understand what's going on, get the condition treated, and then push forward the way you have in your life.

Snelling: I had to make a choice if I wanted to give up on football. It wasn't even really about football, it was getting myself healthy for everyday life and the things I needed to do. It took some work and I had support from family and friends and coaches across the board. I was able to do it, and it's really gotten me to where I am. Dealing with the epilepsy and getting myself back to where I needed to be built a lot of character in me--so it made the football part of my life easy for me.

Thompson: Jason, I know that November is National Epilepsy Awareness month, are you going to do be doing anything special during the month?

Snelling: I'm going to try to get some families in my epilepsy community in Georgia to come out to the games and see me play with their kids that are dealing with the same things that I dealt with as a kid. My time is pretty busy during football season, but I'm going to try and do as much as possible during the month to get out and spread the awareness and have fun with people who are in the same community as I am.

Thompson: You were born in Toms River, New Jersey, then you go to college in Virginia, now you are in the deep south in Atlanta playing professional football. How has that migration over the years suited Jason Snelling?

Snelling: It's been a great migration, a great journey for me. I've had the opportunity to live different places and meet a lot of people, and it helped me get to the level of where I am now. I love it here in Georgia. We have a great team, great coaches, a great group of teammates and friends that I've developed a bond with, so I couldn't be more pleased to be here.

Thompson: Do you think in some ways that coming off a tough loss like that one last wee against Dallas is going to fire you guys up even more to be ready for the New Orleans Saints team that you'll face next Monday night?

Snelling: Definitely. Anytime you lose it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. You have to be able to learn from it, but you also have to be able to put it behind you because every game is important. I know we are hungry to get back out there. When you lose, you can't wait to get back out there to get a win. We're going to work hard during the week and correct the things we need to correct, just try to learn and get better as a team and do our best against the Saints.

Thompson: The Saints are scoring an amazing number of points, but you guys have also had some contests where you've been able to light it up, so this matchup should really be exciting.

Snelling: They are regularly an offensive team, and they are playing great defense right now. And we know there are going to be some ups and downs in this game against them, but we are very confident that our offense and defense can hang in the game with them. It's a division and conference game. They are going to be fired up, and so are we, so it's going to be a great game.

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.

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