The 300-pound offensive tackle Will Svitek loomed over John Galass, who sat in his bed, a little flustered.
“You gotta keep an eye on us this season,” Svitek said, smiling before he and two other football players and a pair of cheerleaders trotted out of the room, down the hallway to the next waiting fan.
Moments earlier, Galass, 68, of Atlanta had been sitting in bed inside the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur. Then, almost instantly, a hulking contingent of the Atlanta Falcons was standing in front of him, wishing him well. He said he served in the Army during Vietnam.
He said he used to be a season ticket holder back when the “only thing we had to do was beat the Dallas Cowboys.”
When asked how it felt to be visited by athletes he used to watch from the stands, he responded simply: “It feels good.”
Svitek, defensive end Jamaal Anderson and safety Matt Giordano strolled the halls of the medical center May 20, thanking veterans for their service.
In another room, Anderson and Giordano approached Anthony Martin, 53, of Marietta who was lying in his bed, smiling. He said he served in the Air Force in the 1970s.
“You look good, man,” Anderson said.
Martin also used to come to Falcons games but said he remains a Minnesota Vikings fan.
“I came to the games, and I cheer for you,” he said. “You all, get them this year. Don’t be letting me down.”
Anderson said he appreciates visiting veterans because he feels a kinship with what soldiers go through.
“I think there’s a similarity between us and what they do out there on the battlefield,” he said.
Thomas Schrawder, 78, of Moultrie said he really wanted an autographed photo of the team. When Anderson handed him one, he placed it on the table next to him and smiled.
“It’s very exciting,” he said.