Falcons coach confirms RB Devonta Freeman out for the season

              FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2018, file photo, Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) stretches during warmups before an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Fla. With Freeman injured most of the season, the Falcons have sunk to last in the NFL in rushing. Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith and the offensive line have do little complement the team's high-profile passing attack, and the result is a 4-9 record and a five-game losing streak.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta coach Dan Quinn says running back Devonta Freeman won’t make it back for the final two games of the season.

The Falcons were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last week. Even though Atlanta’s chances were less than 1 percent, Quinn didn’t want to rule Freeman out for the rest of the year until he was certain.

Quinn said Wednesday that the Falcons “were going to keep all of our options open in the hopes that the season would keep extending so he would have the largest window if he could come back. We know where that window is closing, so he won’t make it in time.”

Freeman, signed to the NFL’s richest contract for a running back before the 2017 season, has missed 14 games over the last two years with head, knee and groin injuries. He is still not fully recovered from in-season groin surgery and hasn’t practiced since Week 5.

Tevin Coleman, Brian Hill and Jeremy Langford will handle the running duties Sunday when Atlanta (5-9) visits Carolina (6-8). The Falcons, already with the NFL’s second-worst rushing attack, lost Coleman’s primary backup, Ito Smith, to a season-ending knee injury in last week’s win over Arizona.

Atlanta ends its regular season at Tampa Bay on Dec. 30.