Falcons Add Veteran Defender After Departing With CB Weeks After Signing Him

The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran cornerback Harrison Hand and waived undrafted rookie Anthony Sao on June 11.
New Atlanta Falcons cornerback Harrison Hand
New Atlanta Falcons cornerback Harrison Hand / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Falcons have made a change at cornerback with the conclusion of minicamp.

The Falcons announced Tuesday they have signed 4-year veteran cornerback Harrison Hand. In a corresponding move, the Falcons released undrafted rookie cornerback Anthony Sao. Atlanta had signed Sao after the NFL draft in April.

Hand is joining the Falcons as his first NFL team since April 2023. He spent the 2022 season with the Chicago Bears, but Hand has been a free agent since the Bears released him more than a year ago.

Hand began his NFL career as a fifth-round pick from Temple for the Minnesota Vikings in the 2020 NFL draft. He went off the board at No. 169 overall.

As a rookie, Hand played in 14 games, starting 1 of them at cornerback. He recorded 17 combined tackles, 3 pass defenses and 1 interception while playing 163 defensive snaps. Hand also lined up for 146 snaps on special teams during that season.

He remained with the Vikings for the 2021 campaign, but Minnesota mostly relegated Hand to a special teams role. With the Bears in 2022, Hand, interestingly, mostly played on defense in the four games where he dressed.

In 23 NFL contests, Hand has nearly split his time on defense and special teams. He's played 276 defensive snaps and 274 special teams snaps over four seasons. With the Bears in 2022, he had 12 combined tackles, 1 pass defense and 1 forced fumble.

Sao played college football at MidAmerica Nazarene University. He recorded 4 interceptions and earned All-Conference 1st-team recognition as a junior in 2022. Sao played in just seven contests as a senior last fall due to injuries.

Because the Falcons dropped a cornerback to sign Hand, the team still has 11 cornerbacks on the 90-man roster. Hand will likely compete for a depth role on special teams or the practice squad.


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Dave Holcomb

DAVE HOLCOMB

Dave is a staff writer at Falcon Report. He also writes at Yardbarker, Southern Pigskin, Cox Media, and Rotowire. Follow him on Twitter @dmholcomb.