The Atlanta Falcons announced Monday morning that cornerback Darqueze Dennard has been designated to return from injured reserve.
By designating Dennard to return, the Falcons have begun the 21-day window in which they must activate him to the active roster. During that period, however, Dennard is free to return to practice and work with the rest of his teammates.
Dennard landed on IR after sustaining a hamstring injury late in the Falcons' loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Prior to the injury, Dennard was playing his best game since joining Atlanta as a free agent signing this offseason.
On Friday, following Atlanta's 25-17 win against the Carolina Panthers, interim head coach Raheem Morris said Dennard was "getting close" to making his return. With Monday's news, he is now one step further along that path.
When Dennard does rejoin the active roster, he will provide a shot in the arm for a Falcons secondary that has taken its lumps this season. Rookie A.J. Terrell continues to show improvement, however, and veteran Blidi Wreh-Wilson secured the game-winning interception against the Panthers, so perhaps the unit is beginning to find its stride, something Dennard should only help it do.