Falcons’ Jalen Mayfield returns to practice

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons left guard Jalen Mayfield, who sustained a lower back injury and missed the last two practices, returned to practice Monday.

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

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The Falcons are set to open their exhibition season against the Lions at 6 p.m. Friday at Ford Field.

“We’re going to get back after it tomorrow,” Smith said. “We’ll be in pads (Tuesday) and Wednesday. Grinding pretty good here with some training camp practices. So, we’ll see how it responds.”

Mayfield, who started 16 games last season but has been working with the second team behind Elijah Wilkinson, was happy to return to practice.

“I’ve got like three more weeks,” Mayfield said. “There’s plenty of time. I’m in every meeting. I’m checking stuff out. My main priority is to get healthy. Do the best I can. Be able to compete every day. ... 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 selection from Michigan in 2021, played tackle in college and has been transitioning to guard.

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