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Injury Report

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Avery Williams out for the year with knee injury

Williams was the Falcons primary punt return man since he was drafted two years ago. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Arthur Smith has ruled Avery Williams out for the year with an ACL injury.

The Falcons punt returner suffered the injury during the Falcons open practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week on a play that resulted in a Drake London touchdown. Williams' injury was non-contact, he was helped off the field and immediately went to the locker room.


Smith said Williams is scheduled to have a procedure done on Thursday.

Williams was one of the most consistent punt returners in the NFL in 2022, leading the league in return yards, averaging 16.2 yards per punt return. This average was three yards more than the next punt returner's average at 13.2. Williams had three returns of 20-plus yards.

After starting his professional career as a defensive back, the Falcons moves Williams to running back last year where he saw action sparingly at the spot in a couple games when depth was needed. He had begun to work more with the receivers through 2023's voluntary OTA period prior to his injury last Friday.

Without Williams, the Falcons will be looking for a new punt return man. Asked who could be a part of that competition, Smith said it'll be an opportunity for someone like Mike Hughes, Dee Alford, Penny Hart or Josh Ali, to name a few.

It's unfortunate, Smith said, but "somebody will step up."

As for Williams: "Because of the player that Avery is I wholeheartedly believe that he'll come back better and improved," Smith said. "It is unfortunate."

Take a look at the Atlanta Falcons in action during the 2023 First Look practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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