Cordarrelle Patterson had 205 offensive touches for the Falcons last year, by far a career high for the hybrid offensive weapon who thrived working in Atlanta.
He eventually pulled back on his return-man responsibilities to save him some hits as the season progressed. The Falcons will be careful with their playmaker, making sure he's as fresh as possible down the stretch.
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- Finding the Falcons rookie class: Drake London, Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen; Desmond Ridder; DeAngelo Malone, Tyler Allgeier, Justin Shaffer, John FitzPatrick
Being better later in the year is a goal for 2022, Patterson said Tuesday upon reporting for training camp
"I'm trying to finish the year off strong, [do well] from start to finish," Patterson said. "Later in the year I was banged up a little bit. I couldn't play the way I wanted to play but, this year it's trying to finish the year off strong."
That doesn't mean, however, that he's done returning kicks. No way, no how.
"I have a record to break, man," Patterson said. "I need one more before I hang it up being back there. If I get one more, I'll stop doing it. I'll stop returning kicks if I get one more."
The boys are back in town and ready to get to work for the 2022 season!
Patterson has eight kickoff-return touchdowns, which is tied with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington for the most in NFL history. One more and the record's his. Patterson wants that title, and will go for it in 2022.
He corresponds regularly with special teams coach Marquice Williams, telling him he wants to stay active in a phase of the game that made his career. It will ultimately be up to the coaches how much return work he does – Avery Williams is an excellent return option – but Patterson wants to secure that ninth return TD while keeping himself fresh and productive late in the season on a team that needs him to steadily produce.
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