Wide receiver Harry Douglas, defensive tackle Peria Jerry and cornerback Brian Williams have all been medically cleared to participate in practice when training camp opens on Friday, Falcons head coach Mike Smith told the Atlanta Journal-constitution on Tuesday.
“They will start on a limited basis and we’re going to monitor them and manage them throughout training camp,” Smith said. “They will not be involved, to start with, in two-a-days. They will be practicing once a day and we’ll bring them along very, very slowly.”
All three players suffered season-ending knee injuries last season.
Douglas suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Aug. 5 and was placed on injured reserve the next day.
Douglas is expected to add some pop to the receiving corps if he can fully recover.
In 2008 as a rookie, he played in all 16 games and caught 23 passes for 320 yards, rushed 12 times for 33 yards — mostly on reverses — and averaged 11.9 yards per punt return. He scored one touchdown receiving, one rushing and one on a punt return as a triple-threat.
Jerry, the team’s first round pick in 2009, suffered a knee injury in the second game of the season against Carolina on Sept. 20. He was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 21.
He’s expected to add some inside muscle and stability to the defensive line if he can fully recover.
Williams was added to the team at the outset of last season. A few days later, he opened the season as the starting left cornerback and moved down inside to the slot in nickel situations.
He suffered a knee injury in the fifth game of the season against Chicago on Oct. 18. He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20.
He’s expected to contend for a starting spot if he can fully recover.
“Their workloads will increase depending on how they handle their recovery,” Smith said. “They have been working really, really hard this offseason. I’m excited that they have been cleared and are ready to go.”
If the players were not cleared for practice, they could have been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and continued their rehabilitations.
“We’ll start them out at the beginning of the camp to see how their bodies handle the work load,” Smith said. “As long as they reach certain milestones, we will continue to ramp it up.”