Biermann takes job, personal life in stride
When the Atlanta Falcons signed Ray Edwards as their new starting defensive end in July, Kroy Biermann made the most of a difficult situation.
Biermann says that's the way he was raised in Hardin, Mont. - to help others succeed, work hard and be careful what you say.
''It is what it is,'' Biermann said Thursday. ''It's a business.''
But for Biermann, home life can be a business, too. His fiancee, Kim Zolciak, is a cast member on Real Housewives of Atlanta. The couple, who were engaged earlier this week, have a 4-month-old son.
Sleep is often a precious commodity.
''You just roll with the punches,'' he said. ''You keep it moving, you know? It's not a big deal. There's still a lot of my life that's very private and in our lives that's very private, so it's good. It's her job, and it's my job. We keep them separate, and things are fine.''
The difference for Biermann at home is that he doesn't try to compete with Zolciak. She's a celebrity with 224,000 followers on Twitter. Biermann, now in his fourth year with the Falcons, has 25,000 followers.
Biermann takes a far more aggressive approach when he reports to work.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Biermann might undersized for a prototypical end, but he hasn't missed a game since Atlanta drafted him from Montana in the fifth round of 2008.
''Rushing the passer is a lot more technical than people might think,'' Biermann said. ''You don't just run around the edge and expect to get to the quarterback. There's angles, hand placement, hand fighting, elusiveness, power, speed and trying to handle all that in a split second while you're reading the guy across from you.''
The Falcons (2-3), who host Carolina (1-4) on Sunday, made Biermann an emergency starter in last week's home loss to Green Bay when a groin injury sidelined Pro Bowl end John Abraham.
For Biermann, however, the role was nothing new - he started 15 games last season in helping Atlanta earn a No. 1 playoff seed.
Yet once Edwards signed a five-year deal with $11 million guaranteed, Biermann was back where he began his career as a No. 2 end and a contributor on special teams.
''I'm here to play and do what I can to help get wins,'' Biermann said. ''If it requires me covering a kick, that's fine. They obviously needed me more last week with Abe being down on defense, so you can't waste a whole ton of energy on (special teams) coverages.''
One reason the Falcons signed Edwards, who had 16.5 sacks the last two years with Minnesota, was the team's overall lackluster pass rush in 2010. They finished in a tie for 20th with 31 sacks, but 13 of them went to Abraham. Biermann had three.
''In this league, if you don't put up a lot of numbers the year before as a unit or if certain things don't happen, you've got to do things to help the team,'' Abraham said. ''When Ray joined us, Kroy took it in stride, and I think he's still preparing for being good and doing the same thing he did last year. I don't think he's dropped off one bit.''
In 53 career games, Biermann has 11 sacks, 92 solo tackles, three passes defensed and two interceptions he returned for touchdowns in road losses to Chicago this season and Cleveland last year.
Those are decent numbers, but Biermann wants to keep getting noticed on the field.
''That's my job,'' he said. ''I want our team to be successful. At home, I want our family to be successful, but those are two different things entirely.''