With Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman ailing, Falcons sign a running back

As Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman nurse hamstring injuries, the Atlanta Falcons added another body to the running back group.

Michael Ford, formerly with the Chicago Bears, signed a two-year, minimum-salary deal on Friday. The 5-foot-10-inch, 216-pound Ford has some elusive ability and can catch the ball out of the backfield. The Bears also used him in the return game during the 2013 season. Ford last was with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

The Falcons saw both Freeman and Coleman suffer hamstring strains this week as they battled for the starting job. Coleman missed two days of practice, and Freeman injured his right hamstring during Thursday's session. A mild hamstring strain (Grade 1) typically takes 2-to-4 weeks to fully heal, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Freeman and Coleman miss next Friday's exhibition opener against the Tennessee Titans.

It's unclear whether Ford will suit up for the Falcons' "Friday Night Lights" practice at 7:20 p.m. ET. The running backs expected to get the reps include veteran Antone Smith, second-year player Jerome Smith, and impressive rookie Terron Ward.

The Falcons waived wide receiver Freddie Martino to make room for Ford. Also, the team waived/injured undrafted rookie tight end Beau Gardner after he suffered a serious knee injury in practice. The team signed 6-foot-4, 260-pound tight end D.J. Tialavea as a replacement.