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OTA report: RB Bijan Robinson felt 'great' in his return to practice

Falcons running back Bijan Robinson's ankle injury was a light sprain that lingered from last season. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — What a pleasant surprise for the Atlanta Falcons.

On Monday, running back Bijan Robinson returned to practice. He missed the first six sessions of organized team activities due to an ankle injury. Originally, head coach Raheem Morris expected Robinson to be back for mandatory minicamp next week. Turns out, Robinson's recovery was ahead of schedule.

"I feel great," Robinson said. "I know that I had to continue to rehab it and just get comfortable being back to myself. But it's good. It's good to be back on the field with the guys."

It likely helped that the Falcons had last week off, a break in between their second and third set of offseason practices.

Robinson described the injury to his left ankle as "a light sprain."

"It was kind of lingering from the season," he said. "But I was training on it like the whole time – and I was going hard. It was something that I felt but didn't feel too bad."

OTAs are Phase 3 of the Falcons' offseason program. Robinson participated in everything that came beforehand, including the voluntary minicamp back in April. That's around when he had trainers check him out of precaution.

When OTAs began in May, Robinson was notably missing.

"For me, not being on the field, I was trying to be a good leader off the field, helping out the young guys and helping everybody get back to their form," Robinson said. "Now that I'm out there, continuing that leadership and still leading by example is what I liked about today."

That wasn't the only thing Robinson liked.

"I didn't really hold nothing back either," Robinson said. "I was full-go."

Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson #7 during OTAs at Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Monday, June 3, 2024. (Photo by Taylor McLaughlin/Atlanta Falcons)

Notes, observations from practice

ROLL CALL: There were nine players missing from Monday's open practice. The list includes outside linebacker Bralen Trice, cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Kevin King, running backs Jase McClellan and Robert Burns and then defensive linemen David Onyemata, Grady Jarrett, Eddie Goldman and James Smith-Williams.

Morris did not have any injury updates, though.

ANOTHER RETURNER: In addition to Robinson, cornerback A.J. Terrell made his return to practice Monday. Terrell was present for the first set of OTAs but not the second. The reason was never disclosed.

Morris expected Terrell to be back this week. In his absence, though, Morris was impressed by cornerback Clark Phillips III when he filled in with the starting secondary.

"I was really fired up to see him go out there," Morris said. "The best thing about corners is they're like left tackles. If you don't notice that there's a change, there's probably something good going on, and that's what happened at the cornerback position."

Phillips, however, was noticed – in a good way.

"Last week, Clark had a pick-six," Morris said. "That's a pretty impactful play."

INSTANT REPLAY: Since the Falcons returned to the practice back in April, there has been a difficult-to-miss addition to the field. A massive video board now stands on the sideline. It shows live and playback footage.

Morris brought the digital tool from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Not literally. Just the idea.

"There's nothing like going through a walk-through, jog-through, practice, and you look right to the right and you can give the player immediate feedback on something that you may have missed live," Morris said. "That immediate feedback is so important. … Giving that immediate feedback will allow you to make those corrections in real-life time and to be able to repeat something so you don't leave something on the grass to have to wait until the next day."

Ultimately, the goal for the Falcons to have two video boards.

"We're almost there," Morris said. "Once we get that second screen, we'll be rolling."

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