Gamecocks and former Clemson Tiger Michael Palmer unite in Falcons Super Bowl push

  • Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:06 a.m., Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:07 a.m.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Michael Palmer, center right, celebrates his touchdown with tight end Tony Gonzalezduring the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

BY GENE SAPAKOFF

gsapakoff@postandcourier.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Michael Palmer says he is “outnumbered.”

But the former Clemson tight end isn’t complaining this week. Though the Atlanta Falcons’ roster for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against San Francisco includes four former South Carolina Gamecocks, Palmer is “living the dream” as an Atlanta native one victory from the Super Bowl.

“I remember watching in 1999 when the Falcons won at Minnesota (to reach Super Bowl XXXIII),” Palmer said at the Falcons’ practice facility. “To be actually be a part of it now … You know, it’s still all sinking in. We’re really excited.”

As for his Gamecock teammates, Palmer says they talk a lot – particularly about South Carolina’s four-game win streak over Clemson.

“That part isn’t so much fun,” Palmer said, “but they’re fun guys.”

The Atlanta roster includes eight players with Palmetto State ties:

- Roddy White (James Island High School). Four-time Pro Bowl receiver, scored on a 47-yard touchdown catch against the Seahawks.

- Michael Palmer (Clemson). The second-year free agent caught a touchdown pass in Atlanta’s win over Detroit and was on the field as a blocker for Matt Bryant’s game-winning field goal last week against Seattle.

- John Abraham (USC). Starting defensive end is expected back against the 49ers after suffering an ankle injury during the Seattle win.

- Dunta Robinson (USC). Starting cornerback.

- Cliff Matthews (USC). Defensive lineman had two tackles against the Seahawks.

- Travian Robertson. Defensive tackle active against Seattle but didn’t play. Appeared in four games this season.

- Chris Hope (Rock Hill). Backup safety played at Florida State.

- Vance Walker (Fort Mill). Backup defensive tackle played at Georgia Tech.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.

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