Falcons RB Devonta Freeman eager to play after concussion

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Just as Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, running back Devonta Freeman bounced around the locker room Wednesday with a pep in his step.

Freeman realized how difficult it was to watch from the sideline last week while recovering from a concussion. And although he had a black no-contact jersey upon his return to practice, he is on schedule to play Sunday against Tampa Bay following a one-game absence.

"We'll limit the contact for sure just as a precaution, but he's fully ready to play and he is absolutely jacked," Quinn said of Freeman. "For those of us who know Devonta in here, you can imagine the excitement he has. It jumps off the field and off the tape by how much he loves football. And so we can't wait to get him back out there."

Freeman knew last Sunday he would be ready to play against the Buccaneers. He met with the independent neurologist before last Sunday's game and did some pregame sprints.

Freeman was asked when he started to feel like his normal self again.

"I want to say like Thursday night, starting on Friday," he said.

Freeman sustained the concussion after taking a hit from Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Clayton Geathers. He said missing a week didn't make him any more anxious than he already is to play on game day.

Even after being sidelined last week, Freeman still stands second in the league with 11 touchdowns, one behind Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert. Freeman is eighth on the NFL's rushing charts with 764 yards on 167 carries. He leads the league with nine rushing touchdowns.

Just as important is the fact Freeman has fumbled just once this season. Rookie Tevin Coleman, who had a key fumble in place of Freeman last week, has three fumbles in 77 rushing attempts.

Freeman was asked what needs to change against a Buccaneers team the Falcons already lost to this season, especially with the offense struggling as a whole.

"We aren't going to change,'' Freeman said. "We aren't going to change our play calling. We just need to eliminate our mistakes. That's it."