FLOWERY BRANCH –Running back Devonta Freeman, whom the Falcons made the highest paid player at his position last week, was held out of practice and placed in the league's concussion protocol on Monday, according to coach Dan Quinn.
"After taking him inside yesterday where we thought he had heat related (issues), he reported that he had some concussion symptoms," Quinn said on Monday. "So, we put him in the protocol for that. He'll be out this week. He may start practicing as we, but we are going to rule him out now."
Freeman started practice on 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.
“I didn’t think he was going to come back,” Quinn said after practice on Sunday. “He had some heat stuff that he dealt with from the first practice and again (Sunday.)”
Freeman received fluids after going inside.
Quinn is about to address the media about Monday's absence. Check back for updates.
Freeman was mostly a third-down back as a rookie when he caught 73 passes, but started to flourish in his second season under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2015 and was selected for the past two Pro Bowls.
He signed a five-year $41.25 million contract extension last week with the Falcons. His average annual salary of $8.25 million is tops in the league for running backs.
Freeman has been the NFL’s second leading rusher over the past two seasons. Freeman’s 2,135 yards rushing trails only Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy’s 2,162 rushing yards over the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Freeman (227 carries for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Tevin Coleman (118 for 520 and eight touchdowns) combined to rush for 1,619 yards and 19 touchdowns. They also caught 85 passes for 883 yards and five touchdowns. In all, they combined to amass 2,502 yards from scrimmage.