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How long can Hall maintain his boycott?

By PAUL NEWBERRY

    FLOWERY BRANCH — DeAngelo Hall made it through Day 1 of his media blackout.
    ‘‘I ain’t doing nothing the rest of the season,’’ the Atlanta Falcons cornerback said Wednesday when approached by a reporter. ‘‘I’m done talking.’’
    Done talking? DeAngelo Hall? That’s a good one.
    Even his teammates had trouble believing the outspoken Pro Bowler could make it through another nine weeks boycotting the media except on game days.
    Fullback Ovie Mughelli actually started laughing when someone brought up Hall’s don’t-bother-asking-cause-I-ain’t-telling policy.
    ‘‘I think he can do it because he knows everybody is watching him and looking for him to break it,’’ Mughelli said. ‘‘He’s going to do his best to prove you guys wrong. It’s going to be interesting, but I ain’t putting any money on it.’’
    Hall announced Monday he would talk to the media only after games, apparently deciding it was best to keep quiet during the week following his tirade against coach Bobby Petrino and the coaching staff over the surprising release of nose tackle Grady Jackson.
    Hall questioned whether the Falcons (1-6) had given up on the season and said it was apparent the team was building for the future with youth at the expense of older, more accomplished players.
    After a private meeting with Petrino before Monday’s practice, Hall said he was looking toward the future and planning to keep his mouth closed.
    Did Petrino have anything to do with those sounds of silence coming from the cornerback’s locker?
    ‘‘It certainly wasn’t my suggestion,’’ the rookie coach said. ‘‘I have not even given it any thought.’’
    Considering all the turmoil Hall has stirred up this season, maybe it’s a good time to go on mute. He got into a sideline confrontation with Petrino during Week 3, leading the coach to impose a $100,000 fine (which is under appeal) and sit the cornerback for the first half of the next game.
    A few days later, Hall complained about his relationship with Petrino, saying he wasn’t as close to the players as predecessor Jim Mora. Then came the blowup over Jackson’s release last week, a move that caught everyone in the locker room off guard.
    While plenty of players complained privately about getting rid of the likable Jackson, Hall went on the record and then some, calling the move ‘‘asinine.’’
    Running back Warrick Dunn figures Hall will stay quiet for a while, then get back to his talkative ways.
    ‘‘D-Hall’s an emotional guy,’’ Dunn told reporters. ‘‘Right now, he’s a little frustrated. Obviously, he’s just trying to step back a little bit and pretty much gather himself. In due time, I’m sure he’ll speak to you guys. I know he likes you guys. He certainly doesn’t dislike you guys. In due time, D-Hall will be D-Hall.’’
    Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler, another prominent player who spoke out against the direction of the team a few weeks ago, said he understands why Hall is clamming up.
    ‘‘There’s some truth to him feeling like he’s misrepresented,’’ Crumpler said. ‘‘Here’s the thing: you guys have to get a feel for what’s going on around here. We can choose to tell you or we can choose to keep our mouths shut. We keep our mouths shut, it doesn’t give you anything. We tell you, we get in trouble.’’
    Crumpler said he was only kidding about that last part, but he does think Hall is using the criticism over his comments and a strained relationship with Petrino as motivation on the field.
    ‘‘Whatever edge he has or whatever chip he has, he’s been playing extremely well,’’ the tight end said. ‘‘You don’t want to take a guy’s edge off, no matter what.’’
    Crumpler also put to rest the idea that Hall goes out of his way to be controversial.
    ‘‘Look, DeAngelo doesn’t come in here saying, ’This is what going to say to those guys,’’’ Crumpler said. ‘‘I can promise you, he doesn’t sit down and say that. It’s like when we’re playing cards. We suck him in every time, then we go for the gusto. We suck him in and get him all emotional.’’
    Speaking of a friendly wager, anyone taking odds that Hall will be able to keep quiet for nine more weeks?
    ‘‘I wouldn’t bet on it,’’ Dunn said.

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