Falcons first-round pick Kaleb McGary, who trying to recover from a cardiac ablation procedure, returned Sunday to full practice.
McGary, who had the procedure on July 31, was cleared for full contact, but the Falcons didn’t wear their pads.
“The fact that he’s able to do all of the reps and get started in a regular fashion, that’s a big deal,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said before practice. “We’ll encourage him to see … how far he can come in a week’s time and take it from there.”
Before the injury, McGary was competing with Ty Sambrailo for the starting right tackle spot. He was working mostly with the second-team offense.
“Like most things, let’s not put the cart before the horse,” Quinn said. “Let’s make sure that we make every step and do it in the right way. Fortunately, for us, he’s hitting every marker that we’d hope he would. So, we’ll get a chance to really see him battle.”
The Falcons traded back into the first round of the NFL draft in April to select McGary with the 31st overall pick out of the University of Washington. He was signed to a four-year, $10.2 million deal in May. A total of $9.1 million of the deal was guaranteed.
Sambrailo, who has a shoulder injury, also returned to practice in a limited fashion.
With McGary and Sambrailo out, the Falcons started second-year tackle Matt Gono against the Redskins on Thursday.
Quinn said that Gono, who’s a second-year player trying to make the jump from Division III Wesley college, played well.
Quinn said he’d be comfortable with McGary, Sambrailo or Gono opening the season at right tackle.
“We absolutely feel that way, but as we get into the week, we’ll see where it goes,” Quinn said. “We are very confident in the people that we have.”
The Falcons called McGary’s procedure minimally-invasive. McGary has undergone at least two similar procedures in his playing career.
The procedure was performed to correct heart rhythm problems.
McGary played 47 of 53 possible games at the University of Washington.
His heart arrhythmia caused him to lose consciousness while playing in a basketball game at Fife High School in January 2013.
There were three subsequent procedures, according to the Seattle Times.
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