Freeman in final stages of concussion protocol

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is the final stages of the NFL concussion protocol and could return to the team soon, coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday.

“Freeman is toward the end of the protocol,” Quinn said. “He’s in the hard workout phase and that’s today. Hopefully, we’ll get him back practicing on the field. Not for today, but hopefully, that’s coming up soon.”

Freeman, who the Falcons made the highest paid player at his position, was held out of practice and placed in the concussion protocol Aug. 13.

Freeman started practice Sunday, but left about an hour and 20 minutes in the practice. He walked off the field under his own power with a member of the training staff alongside.

Freeman received fluids after going inside.

The protocol is a five-step return-to-play process that starts once a player has been diagnosed with a concussion or symptoms. The player is immediately removed from the team setting with steps in place to work his way back to the team. A player can leave the protocol once all steps are cleared.

The five steps are rest and recovery, light aerobic exercise, light aerobic exercise and strength training, football specific drills and finally, football activity and clearance.

The recovery timetable varies with brain injuries. Some players make it back in a week, others with more severe concussion issues, take much longer.

Freeman scored a touchdown on a 15-yard catch in the Falcons’ 23-20 loss to Miami on Aug. 10. He did not play when the Falcons faced the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.