Grady Jarrett provides very insightful, positive update on ACL recovery

NFL: SEP 17 Packers at Falcons

The Falcons are depending on a lot of young pieces this year on defense. Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot’s only real additions came through the draft.

Ruke Orhorhoro was taken in the second round then Bralen Trice in the third, followed by Brandon Dorlus in the fourth round. JD Bertrand and Zion Logue were also drafted but aren’t expected to have as big of roles as the other three.

Outside of those rookies, the Falcons didn’t add a single notable defender during the offseason, thus signaling their confidence in their current group, led by veterans Jessie Bates, A.J. Terrell, Kaden Elliss, David Onyemata, and Grady Jarrett, who is recovering from the first major injury of his career.

The heart and soul of the Falcons team for a decade, Jarrett underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and provided a ton of information on the process from the initial injury to how his rehab is currently trending.

“It felt like my leg was about to fall off just sitting there,” Jarrett said, via the Falcons website. “I couldn’t believe that, with all my might, I couldn’t pick my leg up. The week before, I was starting a game to play the Titans. Just like that. That perspective and drastic change will make me a better player going forward from now on until the many years I’ve got left to play.”

The Falcons defense, prior to the injury, was among the league’s stingiest. They weren’t recording many sacks or turnovers, but they were unequivocally better in 2023 than in 2022 across the board.

Jarrett was a big reason why. He and Onyemata proved to be a menacing duo along Atlanta’s interior, both benefiting from the other’s presence. When the Falcons stalwart defensive tackle went down in the team’s Week 8 loss to the Titans, the defense suffered visibly.

Now, the Falcons are hopeful Grady Jarrett can make it back because his impact on and off the field is irreplaceable. An ACL injury and subsequent rehab isn’t a normal process; in fact, Atlanta fans know all too well the kind of toll it can take — i.e., Ronald Acuna’s Players Tribune piece. Jarrett, however, took it on with a bit of a different mentality.

“I’m proud of myself,” Jarrett said. “Because through this whole thing, I didn’t allow myself to sulk on what happened to me or to fall into a depress or whatever it may be. I knew I had work to do.”

Jarrett tore his ACL in November, and a ninth-month recovery timeline would set his return around July, which means there isn’t room for a setback if he wants to be back for Week 1 fully healthy.

“I made the days count; I didn’t count the days,” Jarrett said. “I tell you that just because it’s been a grind, but I’m not exhausted. I’m looking forward to the next challenge. I’m answering the call every day.”

The Falcons found a gem of a human and football player in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Grady Jarrett is cut from a different cloth, and it’s guys like him that make watching this game so enjoyable for us. A moment like this would cripple most, but not Jarrett. He’s taken a different approach with a sense of gratitude.

“I might have just needed that in that moment,” Jarrett said. “After playing the game for so long at a time, you can sometimes feel like you’ve got things figured out. It’s a reminder that nobody is invincible. Every day that you get to step on the field is a gift. At any moment, it can go.”

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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