FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons received some tough news on Monday as it was announced that one of the Falcons best surprises of the 2022 season will see their season come to an end.
Arthur Smith confirmed on Monday afternoon that running back Caleb Huntley has an Achilles injury. Reports quickly surfaced that Huntley's injury is season-ending and will likely involve surgery.
Huntley was actually the one the Falcons ran out at running back during their first offensive drive in New Orleans, but he only played in two snaps. Smith said it was one of the most unusual injuries he'd seen.
"He didn't go down. He stayed in there," Smith said, "and I don't know how the hell he did it, to be honest."
Smith said Huntley even made a block in pass protection on the play after he injured his Achilles before finally running to the sideline after the first series was over.
The head coach said he caught up with Huntley on Monday morning, and said the same thing to the running back as he said to the media later in the day: "I don't think I've ever seen that."
To that, Huntley responded saying, "Well, I knew you wanted to go no-huddle early so I didn't want to come out."
Huntley has been one of the Falcons most successful Cinderella stories of the 2022 season.
As a player fighting for a roster spot during training camp, Huntley was looking at a very crowded backfield around him. He had Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, Tyler Allgeier and even Avery Williams ahead of him. Huntley originally signed to the Falcons practice squad, but was called up early in the season when Damien Williams and - later - Patterson went on injured reserve.
With this chance for significant playing time, together Allgeier and Huntley cemented the Falcons run game as one of the most productive in the league. It's a status that - despite Atlanta's overall record - has held. Huntley played a role in that.
Huntley finished the 2022 season having played in 12 games. He had 76 carries for 366 yards. That's good enough for a 4.8 yards per carry average.
"I feel awful for him," Smith said. "He's a great person, a guy we've had in our program, and I know he'll attack the rehab."
We take a monochrome look at the game against the New Orleans Saints on December 18, 2022.