Vic Beasley returns to Adairsville for sign

The new road signs in his honor might be grammatically correct, but Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley Jr., couldn't help but notice an unofficial error in the lettering. 

"The majority of the people call it 'Dairsville,'" he said. "The 'A' is silent."

More than 200 people came to the Adairsville Public Square Saturday for the unveiling of the city's new "Home of Vic Beasley Jr." entryway signs. The 2016 Pro Bowler then signed autographs for fans, friends and former neighbors — many of them nibbling on cookies outside city hall shaped like Beasley's No. 44 jersey — for the better part of two hours.

"It's a blessing," Beasley, 25, said. "All my hard work in the town I put in, throughout my career, it's just humbling to see my town honor me. They've given me a lot of support over the years."

More than a few familiar faces greeted Beasley at the square's famed gazebo, which was decked out in banners with the hashtag #JustAKidFromAdairsville. 

"My elementary school teachers, it's good to see them come out," he said. "They played a big role in my success to where I am now."

Beasley attended Adairsville High School from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure as a Tiger, he played on both sides of the field, splitting his time on the gridiron as a running back and a linebacker.

His senior year, he racked up seven touchdowns and 828 yards on 120 rushes and recorded 102 tackles (plus an interception) playing defense. ESPN ranked Beasley as a four-star recruit and listed him as one of the top 200 high school football players in the country in 2010.

"I've got a lot of memories, honestly," he said. "I guess the greatest thing I've taken from this town is just the love, the support. Everybody's always encouraged me. With the people I've been around, there's always been things that have been uplifting."

The signs celebrating Adairsville as his hometown will go up at each city limit marker. A date, however, has not yet been announced for when the Georgia Department of Transportation will officially install the signs.

"It's a joyous occasion," said Adairsville Mayor Kenneth Carson. "This is something that the council and I thought we needed to do. He has made a footprint on the national level, and he's from Adairsville. We wanted to show him how much we appreciate all that he's done to make it to the level he's made it at."

Carson recalled speaking to Adairsville Middle School a few weeks ago during a Black History Month presentation.

"I was talking to them about setting goals, following your heart and chasing your dreams," he said. "Exactly what I was talking about, it came to fruition today in Vic Beasley Jr."

As a token of appreciation, Carson also handed Beasley the keys to the city of Adairsville. "We could not be more honored to have you here today to celebrate your accomplishments and what you mean to this great community," Carson said.

After graduating from Adairsville High, Beasley was recruited by the Clemson Tigers. He came into his own his junior season, registering 13 sacks on the year en route to becoming a consensus All-American and first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection. He elected to stay at Clemson his senior year, in which he set the school's all-time career sack record and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

Beasley was drafted by the Falcons in 2015. In three seasons as a pro, he's recorded 94 tackles, 24.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles. His stellar stats in the Falcons' 2016 Super Bowl season (in which he was also the League's sack champion with 15.5 on the year) garnered him All-Pro recognition from both the Associated Press and the Pro Football Writers of America.

After playing outside linebacker for the last two seasons, Beasley will move back to the defensive end position for the 2018 NFL season.

"The coach feels like that's the best position for me to excel, and I'm excited to try and do the best I can with it," he said. "My thoughts, man, we just got to get out there in training and adjust to the system. Hopefully, we'll be able to put our best foot forward and try to go out there and compete for another Super Bowl."

The Falcons announced Feb. 28 they planned on exercising Beasley's fifth-year contract option for 2019. He was a bit mum on that issue.

"Right now, I don't really want to speak on those terms," he said. "We're going to let that play out in the future."  

And with training camp still a good four months away, don't be surprised to see the towering 6'3 Adairsville native making another local appearance or two. 

"In the offseason, I'm here a good bit," Beasley said. "I try to come back and visit the town and do a lot in the community and give back."

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