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Former Falcons Star Fueling Rivalry With Saints

Devonta Freeman calls it a "dream come true" to play for his favorite team ... in New Orleans

So now he tell us.

The former star who might have been the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl LI had the Atlanta Falcons held on to that 28-3 lead has been a friend of the enemy all along. Running back Devonta Freeman, who played his first six NFL seasons in Atlanta, signed this week with the New Orleans Saints.

At this introductory press conference Monday, he dropped a bomb about the Falcons' NFC South rivals.

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"This is a dream come true, because they Saints have always been my favorite team," Freeman said. "It was always unfortunate and uncomfortable for me having to play them twice a season because they were in our division."

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The 29-year-old Freeman, who last year started four games for the New York Giants in the absence of Saquon Barkley, signed a one-year contract with the Saints to compete with Latavius Murray and Ty Montgomery to be the primary backup for Alvin Kamara. Freeman said he began liking the Saints because of their black-and-gold color scheme as kid, then continued - quietly - the love affair from afar as he watched in envy at how head coach Sean Payton found various ways to get his backs the football.

"Playing the Saints was our Super Bowl — other than the Super Bowl we made,” Freeman said. "I'm ready to contribute. I'm not out of gas. I'm gassed up."

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Freeman posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in Atlanta in 2015-16, each ending with a Pro Bowl. He led the NFL with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2015 and amassed 121 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta's Super Bowl LI loss to the New England Patriots.

After releasing Freeman in March 2020, the Falcons were led in rushing by Todd Gurley with 678 yards.

In New Orleans, Freeman will be reunited with his Florida State teammate, quarterback Jameis Winston.