Falcons quarterback AJ McCarron has torn ACL, out for season

Terry Fontenot, Arthur Smith likely in the market to sign another signal caller

Atlanta Falcons quarterback AJ McCarron #5 walks out for warm-ups before the Falcon’s pre-season game against the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, August 13, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta Falcons)

Falcons quarterback AJ McCarron has a torn right ACL, confirming worst fears after he got hurt during Saturday's preseason game against the host Miami Dolphins.

The diagnosis confirmed by an MRI on Sunday. He is out for the season.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter was first to report the news.

That's a significant blow to the Falcons quarterbacks, leaving starter Matt Ryan and undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks as the only healthy passers on the roster.

It's extremely likely they'll sign another quarterback soon.


After Saturday's game, head coach Arthur Smith was committed to waiting for MRI results before speaking extensively on McCarron's status, but admitted it was a difficult situation for the veteran quarterback.

"We'll get the MRI to confirm, but he's heartbroken," Smith said. "He had bounced back and was out there fighting for his team, trying to get extra yards. I understand injuries are part of the game but there's still a human element. I feel for him."

McCarron was hurt early in the second quarter. He fought for a first down that he earned by taking a serious contact scrambling downfield. He executed one more play, a handoff to Qadree Ollison, before hobbling toward the sideline in pain. He didn't reach his desired destination. He went to the ground awaiting attention from trainers, was taken to the sideline medical tent for a quick evaluation and then limped gingerly toward the Falcons locker room.

Franks finished the game, saying afterward he believes he's ready to take on the No. 2 quarterback job. The Falcons will most likely add a quarterback, and that person's pedigree and experience will say a lot about where they feel Franks is in his professional development. He has shown growth during his time with the Falcons, but the backup position is an important one. McCarron was a frontrunner for that job considering his experience in the role. Now it's left uncertain with one preseason game and roughly three weeks until the regular season starts.

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