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Dan Quinn: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman 'cleared to practice'


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Falcons Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman has been cleared to return to practice, coach Dan Quinn announced during his Tuesday press conference. 

"He'll be cleared to practice today," Quinn said, adding that he has fully progressed through the NFL's concussion protocol.

Freeman has been held out of the past two preseason games, and he will not play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. Speaking with the media after Monday's practice, Freeman explained how spending time on the sideline has given him a fresh perspective on his job.

"Mentally, it helped me out a lot," Freeman said. "It made me realize how blessed I am to be able to compete and play the game I love. My job is what I love to do, and not too many people can say that in this world. It was definitely a reality check for me, I just took it all in and realized how blessed I am."

Just before preseason games began, Freeman agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Falcons. He has gained 3,648 total yards and scored 29 touchdowns during his three seasons in Atlanta.

Quinn also provided a quick update on newly-signed offensive lineman Austin Pasztor, saying he has yet to be cleared for full-team activities in practice.

"He's still in our individual (drills)," Quinn said. "He's not cleared for team activity yet, but he's certainly getting closer to that. He's able to participate with pads and do the individual work. We're definitely ramped up from last week; he was able to make it through last week without any soreness from rehab and practice."

Pasztor has not had any setbacks in his rehab, according to Quinn, but he will not participate in the game on Thursday.

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