Falcons G Mayfield returns to practice after injuring back

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, center, talks with Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney, second from right, during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons left guard Jaylen Mayfield returned to practice Monday after missing time with a lower back injury.

It's not known if Mayfield will be able to play Friday night in Atlanta's first preseason game at Detroit.

“It was good to have him back out there,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “You never know with those things. We’ll continue to assess and see if he’s healthy enough to play."

Mayfield, who started all but one game as a rookie, had missed the two previous practices. The Falcons open the regular season Sept. 11 at home against the New Orleans Saints.

“There’s plenty of time," Mayfield said. "I haven’t lost any confidence or backtracked from where I was. I just have to get healthy and feel better.”

Mayfield, a third-round draft pick from Michigan in 2021, played tackle in college but moved to guard with the Falcons. He struggled at the new position and was one of the lowest-graded starting linemen in the league.

He has been playing behind newcomer Elijah Wilkinson in training camp.

NOTES: The Falcons signed TE MyCole Pruitt, who is joining his fifth NFL team. Pruitt was originally selected by Minnesota in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound tight end has recorded 46 receptions for 488 yards and seven touchdowns in 79 career games, including 27 starts, for the Vikings, Bears, Texans and Titans. ... DL Bryce Rodgers was waived/injured.


More AP NFL: and and