Falcons running back Antone Smith will be placed on season-ending injured reserve with a fractured leg, coach Mike Smith said Monday.
Antone Smith suffered the injury while covering a punt during the 19-17 victory at the Panthers on Sunday.
Antone Smith has been a standout on special teams for the Falcons since 2002. This season he emerged as a big-play threat while scoring five touchdowns on just 36 touches with each score going for at least 38 yards.
“Antone has done some good things for us not only on special teams—he’s a special-teams ace—but he’s also a guy that when he touches the ball he has the ability to take it the distance.,” Smith said. “He’s created a lot of explosive plays for us and he is someone who will be missed. But it gives other guys a chance to get more touches.”
The Falcons have used a committee approach at running back this season with Steven Jackson (285 snaps), Jacquizz Rodgers (200), Devonta Freeman (119) and Smith (96).
It’s possible the Falcons could sign a fourth running back to the 53-man roster once Smith is placed on IR. The Falcons also could activate wide receiver Drew Davis from the physically unable to perform list.
“I don’t think there’s any option we won’t look at depending on what is out there,” Mike Smith said.
Rookie Jerome Smith is the only running back on the Falcons’ 10-man practice squad.
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