clear
Friday May 22nd, 2015 9:03AM

RB Steven Jackson returns to Falcons' practice

By The Associated Press
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Steven Jackson practiced on Monday for the first time in almost a month, and Falcons coach Mike Smith said the running back is on schedule to be play in Atlanta's season opener against New Orleans.<br /> <br /> Jackson had not practiced since July 28, when he hurt his right hamstring. There was added concern because the running back missed four games with a left hamstring injury last season. Because it was the preseason, the Falcons took a cautious approach to Jackson's recovery.<br /> <br /> Jackson, who also had not been available for interviews since the injury, said Monday he always knew this hamstring injury was less serious.<br /> <br /> "I knew this injury was nothing like last year," Jackson said. "But at the same time, you have to listen to your body. I wanted to make sure I did that. In the NFL season, you don't get time. This time I had time to make sure I was right."<br /> <br /> Jacquizz Rodgers has started at running back in Atlanta's first three preseason games. Antone Smith and rookie Devonta Freeman have been the top backups.<br /> <br /> Smith would not say if Jackson will play in the Falcons' final preseason game at Jacksonville on Thursday night. Some established starters are not expected to play.<br /> <br /> "In terms of what we're going to do with playing time, there will be some guys that will and there will be some guys that won't," Smith said.<br /> <br /> "We've got some guys that we need to get some work and we've got some guys that we definitely know what they're capable of doing. The ones that we know what they're capable of doing will probably not get a lot of work."<br /> <br /> Jackson was hurt on the Falcons' first practice in full pads. The Falcons did not wear pads in Monday's workout.<br /> <br /> Jackson, 31, said he doesn't need much time to prepare for the season.<br /> <br /> "It's not that tough," Jackson said. "I'm an old veteran guy. I know the tricks of the trade, what to do to get in shape."<br /> <br /> The Falcons may choose to avoid exposing Jackson to hits in a game before the regular season.<br /> <br /> Asked if he wanted at least a few snaps in a preseason game, Jackson said, "I love the game of football, so whenever there's a football on the field and two teams opposing, you're ready to play.<br /> <br /> "At the same time, those hits in the preseason hurt just like the ones in the regular season. Whatever way coach decides to go, I'll be prepared for it, but just because it's the preseason doesn't mean the hits are any softer."<br /> <br /> The Falcons finished last in the NFL in rushing last season. Jackson, the NFL's active career leading rusher, set career lows with 543 yards rushing and 3.5 yards per carry.<br /> <br /> The Falcons have given Rodgers the chance this preseason to show he can be more than a change-of-pace back. He had eight carries for 33 yards and five catches for 31 yards in Saturday night's 24-27 preseason loss to the Titans. Rodgers (5-6, 196) was stopped on a fourth-and-1 run.<br /> <br /> The Falcons hope the powerful Jackson (6-2, 240) is healthy for those short-yardage situations in the regular season.<br /> <br /> Jackson said he pressed to force his return last season and took a more relaxed approach with this injury.<br /> <br /> "Last year I was stressed to make sure I was out there on the field," he said. "I felt I had something to prove. And this year I said, you know what, I'm going to take it with a grain of salt. I'm going to make sure I'm 100-percent healthy when I come back, so that the Atlanta fan base gets to see exactly what they expect."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 4 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 4 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 4 months ago )
Professional Sports
VIDEO: Gainesville baseball rides chemistry, momentum into championship series
For years, the Gainesville baseball team gazed at the outfield wall at Ivey-Watson Field -- adorned with seven state championship banners -- and wondered when the next might come.
5:01PM ( 7 hours from now )
Buford-Whitewater: Who has the experience in epic AAAA title showdown?
If experience is king in the playoffs, then is perhaps Buford, the No. 1 team in Class AAAA and considered by many to be the class of the entire state -- and ranked in the top 10 nationally -- the underdog in Saturday’s championship series against Whitewater?
1:10PM ( 4 hours from now )
NASCAR Notebook: Hamlin hopes to sweep Charlotte
Denny Hamlin had one million reasons to smile Saturday.
By NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
Banged-up Hawks, Cavaliers adjust for Friday's Game 2
While the Atlanta Hawks try to figure out who will guard LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers are just grateful the four-time MVP is still standing.
10:40PM ( 10 hours ago )
Braves take advantage of Smith's pine tar ejection for win
Julio Teheran pitched seven strong innings and the Atlanta Braves took advantage of Milwaukee reliever Will Smith's seventh-inning ejection for allegedly using pine tar in a 10-1 victory Thursday night.
10:38PM ( 10 hours ago )