FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Rookie Bijan Robinson said Wednesday he is “all good” and ready to return to his lead role in the Atlanta Falcons’ running game after he didn’t feel well and was limited to one carry in last week’s win at Tampa Bay.
Robinson had full participation in the portion of practice that was open to reporters on Wednesday. He appears to be on track to start in this Sunday’s game at Tennessee. He had headaches last Sunday and said Wednesday he started to feel better by Monday. He said he has no history of serious headaches.
“It was tough but I’m all good now,” Robinson said. “It was just something I was going through.”
Robinson leads Atlanta and ranks second among the league’s rookies with 404 rushing yards despite being limited to one carry for 3 yards in last week’s 16-13 win at Tampa Bay. Robinson spent most of the game watching from the Falcons sideline as running backs Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson combined to run for 115 yards.
“It was awesome to see them,” Robinson said of Allgeier and Patterson. “Seeing my brothers out there running the ball, it gets me hyped.”
Robinson has had at least 10 carries in every other game this season. The former Texas standout ranks third on the team with 26 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Because of his versatility as a running back and receiver, Robinson was the No. 8 overall pick in this year's draft. It was the highest a running back has been drafted since Saquon Barkley was the No. 2 pick by the New York Giants in 2018.
Robinson was limited despite not being included on the team's injury report before the game. When asked if being declared inactive for the game was discussed, Robinson said “We were just trying to feel it out. That's all I'm going to say about that because I know it's a big situation.”
Coach Arthur Smith was incredulous when asked if the NFL had inquired about the timing of the team learning Robinson would not be available for his normal workload and if the running back should have been included on the injury report.
“You guys sensationalize things,” Smith said. “I understand outrage and drama sells.”
Smith shook his head before adding “If you really understand how things really operate, then there’s nothing, like, nothing there. I don’t know what … I haven’t put one second of thought about it. ... I’m not, like you can ask rumors and innuendos. I can go find sensational stories. We’ll talk about climate change, we’ll talk about world politics. We can do that, too.”
Smith said Sunday that Robinson “wasn't feeling like himself" before the game and said “we weren't going to overdo it” by giving the rookie his normal number of carries.
The Falcons' ability to overcome both Robinson's dramatically reduced role as well as quarterback Desmond Ridder's three fumbles was impressive.
Atlanta (4-3) moved into first place in the NFC South as Ridder threw for 250 yards, completing 19 of 25 passes, and the Falcons rushed for 156.
“It just shows everyone's hard work and dedication,” Ridder said Wednesday.
Ridder dodged a question about when he knew Robinson wouldn't play his normal lead role and said that didn't affect the team's running game.
“They’re all expected to do the same thing and that’s get positive yards,” Ridder said.
NOTES: LB Tae Davis (concussion protocol) did not practice. Patterson and DL Calais Campbell were held out while resting. ... Atlanta signed LB Donavan Mutin to its practice squad. Mutin was signed by Indianapolis as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Houston. ... The team signed defensive lineman LaCale London to its active roster and released defensive lineman Eli Ankou.
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Charles Odum, The Associated Press