Falcons activate six players off reserve/COVID-19 list

Atlanta also parts ways with newly acquired backup quarterback

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst #81 celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, December 26, 2021. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Atlanta Falcons)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons received a handful of good news on Tuesday as six players were activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. In the Falcons final week of the season, they will see the return of DL Marlon Davidson, S Jaylinn Hawkins, TE Hayden Hurst, OLB James Vaughters, WR Tajae Sharpe and OL Willie Beavers.

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This is big news for the Falcons preparing to face divisional rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Getting the likes of Hurst and Hawkins back is particularly helpful for the Falcons looking to disrupt a potential postseason run for the Saints.

With Erik Harris on injured reserve, Fabian Moreau out with a rib injury and Hawkins on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Falcons secondary looked thin against the Buffalo Bills last week.

The Falcons core of tight ends looked equally as thin when Kyle Pitts injured his hamstring right before the end of the first half. With Hurst on the reserve/COVID-19 list and with Lee Smith only accounting for 10 total offensive snaps on Sunday, this opened the door for Parker Hesse, who was called up from the practice squad 24 hours earlier. The Falcons rewarded Hesse's performance by signing him to the active roster on Tuesday.

In other transactional news, Atlanta has chosen to waive quarterback Matt Barkley. The Falcons claimed Barkley off waivers last week when Feleipe Franks was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and the Falcons were looking for emergency depth at quarterback. That depth is no longer needed.

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