Injuries happen in NFL training camp. It’s just an unfortunate fact of life in the league. The Atlanta Falcons may have their first significant training camp injury in Matt Hennessy.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told the media after practice on July 28 that Hennessy will undergo an MRI. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reported Hennessy walked off the practice field “very gingerly” while getting looked at trainers. The offensive lineman did not return to practice.
Smith added that Hennessy’s “flare up” from Friday’s practice is related to an ailment that the offensive guard dealt with last season.
Hennessy spent seven weeks on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury in his first start of 2022. He played only on special teams during the first eight games last season, but in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Hennessy started at left guard.
The Falcons activated Hennessy off injured reserve for the final two games of 2022. He started against the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both of which were victories for Atlanta.
While the former third-round pick was a reserve offensive lineman for Atlanta last year, his injury is potentially significant. Coming into training camp, Hennessy was expected to compete with rookie Matt Bergeron for the starting role at left guard.
The Falcons drafted Bergeron in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft.
If the veteran misses a significant amount of camp because of this latest injury, the Falcons may have no choice but to start Bergeron at left guard.
In three NFL seasons, Hennessy has appeared in 41 games, starting 22 of them. He started all 17 games at center for the Falcons in 2021.
Drew Dalman took over at center for the Falcons last season while Elijah Wilkerson started nine games at left guard.
Hennessy played college football at Tempe. The Falcons drafted him at No. 78 overall in the third round of the 2020 draft.