Falcons’ Keith Smith bouncing back from offseason knee surgery

Falcons fullback Keith Smith (40) runs a drill against inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (53) during training camp at the Falcons Practice Facility, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Falcons fullback Keith Smith (40) runs a drill against inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (53) during training camp at the Falcons Practice Facility, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons fullback Keith Smith is working his way back into the offense after offseason knee surgery and the recent birth of his son.

“I have a lot to be thankful for,” Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just getting back into the groove of things after the injury and everything.”

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Smith was not happy that he had to miss OTAs after having knee surgery this offseason.

“It comes with the territory, injuries and stuff ‚” Smith said. “I’ve got to take care of my body. I feel like I’m getting back into the groove out here with the fellas.”

Smith, a key lead blocker and special-teams player, doesn’t believe the surgery will hold him back.

“I had to get a minor knee scope on the same knee that I hurt back in 2019,” Smith said. “But it’s nothing that I haven’t been through before. Just a little bit of maintenance stuff as I get older. I feel like a kid again. I’m just ready to get back into the groove of things.”

Sitting out over the offseason was difficult.

“I tried to stay up on top of the playbook and everything,” Smith said. “I was just making sure that I was mentally still grinding and getting my mental reps. That’s the most you can do when physically you can’t perform out there.”

He tried to help the younger players in the locker room.

“We have a young squad,” Smith said. “So, I think it’s important to have that, and I just wanted to be there as much as I could.”

This will be his second season in the offense under coach Arthur Smith.

“Just like anything, as you get more repetitions, it starts to become second nature,” Smith said. “I think being the second year in the system is only going to help us in the long run. We kind of had a young line last year. Just being in the second year, everybody’s coming together more. You can feel the energy is there.”

Smith knows the Falcons must improve their rushing attack, which ranked 31st in the NFL last season.

“I think that’s where our offense evolves from,” Smith said. “I think it all stems from the run game. I think that’s a big important piece that we’re working on this summer. Just trying to refine all the details. Second year in the system, just trying to get as good as we can to be ready for the season.”

Combined ShapeCaption
Falcons fullback Keith Smith speaks to members of the media during training camp at the Falcons Practice Facility, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Falcons fullback Keith Smith speaks to members of the media during training camp at the Falcons Practice Facility, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Falcons fullback Keith Smith speaks to members of the media during training camp at the Falcons Practice Facility, Monday, August 1, 2022, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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