FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The Atlanta Falcons hit the practice field in Flowery Branch on Tuesday for the first day of mandatory minicamp, and some key pieces rejoined the team after missing voluntary organized team activities.
Julio Jones, Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, and Deion Jones all returned to the field, but Beasley was the only returning player who participated in drills. The other three watched practice closely from the sideline, but none of them were dressed out in helmets with the rest of the team. However, Julio Jones still found ways to contribute without running routes.
“Just leadership, you know,” Julio Jones said. “Just showing these guys the way we work here. What we expect of those guys each and every day. Practice, learning, things like that. I’m just another coach here.”
Beasley, Jarrett and Julio Jones all took the offseason to work individually while staying in contact with the Falcons coaching staff. Beasley continuously pointed to conditioning as the main thing he focused on.
“It’s been going well,” Beasley said. “I just wanted to get some experience with some other guys. You know, just step out on my own and see how things would go from there.”
Beasley and Jarrett are both going into the final season of their contracts, which could prove to be a pivotal one. The Falcons used a franchise tag on Jarrett this offseason, but he said he is not concerned with negotiations off the field.
“I’m here to talk about football and about being around my teammates,” Jarrett said. “I missed my guys. Y’all know who to talk to about that. At the end of the day, it will work out how it’s supposed to.”
Among other key pieces returning for the Falcons today was Keanu Neal, who is rebounding from a torn ACL suffered in the 2018 season opener. Riley Ridley was also back in action after missing last Thursday’s OTA for what Dan Quinn called precautionary measures.
The Falcons were short on defensive backs today with rookie Kendall Sheffield working out on the side with team trainers. Desmond Trufant was excused from practice for personal reasons. Tight end Austin Hooper was also not present for the first day of mandatory minicamp due to an ankle injury.
Falcons minicamp will continue on Wednesday and Thursday.