FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) It will be at least another week before linebacker Brooks Reed debuts with the Atlanta Falcons.
Reed practiced Friday for the second straight day in a limited capacity, and coach Dan Quinn said the Falcons won’t rush his return.
He was the team’s top acquisition in free agency, signing a five-year contract guaranteeing $9 million, but a groin injury has sidelined him since the third preseason game.
The Falcons (2-0) also will be without starting running back Tevin Coleman and return specialist Devin Hester when they visit Dallas (2-0) on Sunday.
Reed underwent a third surgery on his groin earlier this month. Quinn hopes Reed returns for next week’s home game against Houston, his former team.
”If he’s back, we’ll know how to feature him and get him rocking,” Quinn said. ”He brings toughness and an attitude we love.”
O’Brien Schofield, signed in free agency to work primarily in third-down situations, will start for the third straight week at Reed’s strongside spot. Schofield played in Quinn’s defensive scheme the last two years, helping Seattle win a Super Bowl and two NFC titles.
Devonta Freeman will start at running back, and Eric Weems will handle kickoff and punt returns as Hester’s replacement. Neither is considered a big dropoff.
Freeman began training camp as the No. 1 running back with Coleman, a third-round draft pick from Indiana, at No. 2. Both were slowed by hamstring injuries last month
Coleman has averaged a strong 3.9 yards on 29 carries. Freeman has averaged nearly 2 yards less, but is a bigger threat in the passing game with seven catches for 63 yards. Coleman, who has yet to catch a pass, left last week’s four-point win at the New York Giants with a rib injury.
Hester has yet to play this season because of turf toe and still isn’t able to cut up field without nagging pain. Weems, a former Pro Bowl pick, has averaged 20 yards a return on four kickoffs and 9.3 yards on three punt returns.
Julio Jones, tied for the NFL lead with 22 catches and second in yards per game, was a full participant in practice after being limited the last two days with a sore hamstring.
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