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'He's an alpha': Grady Jarrett's presence strong despite limited on-field time

Grady Jarrett is working back to 100% after sustaining a season-ending knee injury in 2023. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Whenever the Falcons took the field for open practices throughout voluntary spring training sessions, there was always a presence missing.

Grady Jarrett has yet to make his return to the practice field for open periods after sustaining a season-ending knee injury in 2023. That doesn't mean his presence isn't felt, though. Ask just about anyone in the building. They feel it.

"He's an alpha," defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. "He has earned the respect of everybody in the organization and in the league."

Rewind a few weeks back when the Falcons welcomed their 2024 rookie class to the facility and the city. At a rookie community event, head coach Raheem Morris caught up with Jarrett. Very quickly, Morris said, he was reminded why Jarrett has become such a staple to the franchise.

"With Grady, it's really funny, it's really not even a conversation," Morris said, "it's almost a look in his eye."


What Morris would go on to describe is a look of hunger, determination and passion.

For the first time in his decade-long career, Jarrett missed significant playing time because of an injury. From surgery to rehab, he has been going through the entire recovery process in the months since the injury occurred in November. Though he isn't on the field with the rest of the team yet, there is no one minimizing what he has meant and will continue to mean to the product on the field.

For everyone, Morris said, especially the young defensive linemen coming in, "his presence is huge."

Morris likened it to that of Aaron Donald, who Morris coached and won a Super Bowl championship with during his stint with the Los Angeles Rams. There's a certain respect Donald carried for Jarrett, too, Morris recalled.

All in all, though, there's something to be said about Jarrett's presence in Flowery Branch regardless of how much on-field work he is able to do right now.

"That presence is really special when you have that in that room," Morris said.

New players and veterans return home to Mercedes-Benz Stadium during Phase 3 of OTAs in Atlanta, GA

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