Falcons HC Smith “Heartbroken” Over AJ McCarron Knee Injury
Former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of the Atlanta Falcons Saturday preseason matchup with the Miami Dolphins and will have an MRI Sunday to determine the seriousness of the injury.
"I really feel for AJ McCarron," Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said postgame. "Any time something like that happens, when it's non-contact, it's tough because you know how much work these guys put into it. I feel for him. We'll get the MRI to confirm, but he's heartbroken. He had bounced back and was out there fighting for his team, trying to get extra yards. I understand injuries are part of the game but there's still a human element. I feel for him."
McCarron scrambled for a first down in the second quarter, opting to fight for the yard marker rather than slide. Following the next play, McCarron walked to the sideline. Whether the injury was sustained on either of these plays isn't clear. Regardless, being a non-contact injury is cause for concern in the Falcons organization.
In May, McCarron was signed to the Atlanta roster on a one-year, $1.2 million contract to backup franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons are now down to just two quarterbacks on the roster, Ryan and former Florida and Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks, who finish the contest in McCarron's place.
Smith said the team is always in the quarterback market but will wait for the results of the MRI to make a front-office move.
McCarron is in his seventh season in the NFL. He was drafted into the league in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent four seasons. In 2018 he began the season with the Buffalo Bills but finished with the then-Oakland Raiders. He's spent the past two seasons with the Houston Texans.
McCarron was a three-time national champion with the Alabama Crimson Tide, leading the team to two straight titles in 2011 and 2012. He is the all-time leader in passing with 9,019 yards at Alabama. He completed a program-record 686 of 1026 passes (66.9%) with 77 touchdowns, which ranks second all-time behind Tua Tagovailoa, and 15 interceptions.