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Falcons owner Blank plans to keep coach Smith

The SportsXchange

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has no plans to fire coach Mike Smith despite a disappointing 2-8 record so far this season, according multiple media outlets Thursday.

Blank has privately assured the sixth-year coach that he will be returning for the 2014 season, according to a report from the NFL Network.

The Falcons, coming off an NFC Championship game appearance in 2012, had high expectations going into 2013.

Blank gave a vote of confidence to Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff following last Sunday's 41-28 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I absolutely, do," Blank said of his support. "They've earned it over the last five years. This is a tough business. We've had a lot of injuries and there have been a lot of issues on top of the injuries and that is pretty obvious.

"The guys are proven leaders and proven by success. Their records speak for themselves. They'll do the work that has to be done with my full support. We'll get back to what we have to do. Right now, we have six more games that we have to play this year and we plan on competing hard in those games, winning if not all, as many as we can."

Smith was hired in 2008 to take over a team that went 4-12 in 2007. With rookie quarterback Matt Ryan running the offense, the Falcons went 11-5 in 2008 and made the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Under Smith, the Falcons have made the playoffs four of the past five seasons, including three years in a row from 2010-12. Smith led the Falcons to a 13-3 regular season and a trip to the NFC championship last year.

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