The injury bug struck the Atlanta Falcons at training camp again on Friday.
Atlantafalcons.com’s Tori McElhaney tweeted that cornerback Jeff Okudah exited practice on August 4 via a cart. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein posted on Twitter that Okudah was defending wide receiver Frank Darby in a one-on-one drill when he sustained a lower-leg injury.
“Looked pretty crushed when he was being loaded up onto the cart with the help of trainers,” wrote McElhaney in her post.
WSBTV’s David Hickox posted a video of the entire Falcons secondary taking a knee and saying a prayer for Okudah after he left the field.
There are no concrete reports yet of how serious Okudah’s injury is. But judging by the reaction of his teammates and the beat reporters at practice, the prognosis does not look good.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told reporters it was an ankle injury for Okudah. But Smith is waiting for an MRI before commenting any further about the injury.
“This is why I’m always hesitant, and I’m going to say this because of the way information travels. Sometimes you have to be mindful of people’s families, loved ones and friends,” Smith said. “If bad information gets out, and the guy’s parents are looking at it or the wife or whomever. But you really just never know until you get an MRI.
“Guys get carted off, and there are all kinds of ridiculous rumors, then the guy’s okay. I just won’t know until he gets an MRI.”
Unfortunately, Okudah is no stranger to serious injuries. He has missed 25 games over the past three years because of various ailments.
The Detroit Lions drafted Okudah at No. 3 overall in the 2020 NFL draft. But a groin injury caused him to miss the final six games of his rookie season. Then in his second year, he ruptured his Achilles in Week 1. That landed Okudah on injured reserve for the rest of 2021.
This offseason, the Falcons acquired Okudah from the Lions for a 2023 fifth-round pick.