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Jason Cole

Atlanta's McKay gets extension

Shutdown Corner

Despite speculation that Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay was in danger of losing his job in the aftermath of both the Michael Vick catastrophe and the resignation of coach Bobby Petrino, a source with knowledge of the team said McKay received a two-year contract extension this week.

Beyond that, McKay is playing an active role in the interview of candidates for both general manager and head coach, the source said.

"He's sitting in on everything," the source said.

Last month, after Petrino left the Falcons with three games remaining, owner Arthur Blank announced that the team would be hiring a general manager along with a new coach. At the time, the perception was that McKay, who has overseen player personnel as part of his job, would be let go after a general manager and coach were fired.

The speculation was fueled by Blank's pursuit of Bill Parcells to head the football operations in December. Parcells nearly agreed to a contract with Blank on Dec. 18 before Parcells backed out and took a similar post with Miami. In addition, according to published reports, Blank has been using former New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi as an adviser in the search.

McKay has received much of the blame this season for the demise of the team. Although Blank was the person who pushed for Vick to receive a contract extension worth in excess of $100 million, McKay played a vital role in the hiring of Petrino and previous coach Jim Mora Jr. McKay also has played a strong role in player acquisition, in the draft, free agency and trades.

McKay's contract was set to run through at least the upcoming season. A two-year extension likely would keep him with the Falcons through the 2010 season.

Neither McKay nor an Atlanta spokesman could be reached for comment Thursday.

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