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Tevin Coleman leaves steamy practice due to sickle-cell precaution

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons second-year running back Tevin Coleman, who was born with the sickle-cell trait, was pulled from the end of Sunday’s practice due to extreme heat.

Sickle-cell trait, a blood disorder, can cause complications when an individual is under physical stress in hot weather. The temperature was between 86-90 degrees near the end of Sunday’s practice with 58 percent humidity, according to Accuweather.com.

"You always want to take every precaution," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of Coleman’s disorder. "There are guys all over the league that have it. For him, yeah, it’s something that we’re aware of. It’s like having something to monitor. But he’s really fit, man. He’s having an awesome camp. We just always want to take precaution on the side of player safety."

Those born with the sickle-cell trait also can be negatively affected in high altitudes. Such a factor will be something to watch when Coleman and the Falcons visit Denver in Week 5.

Former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, who has the trait, developed a pain in his left side during a 2007 game at Denver while a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He became gravely ill and lost his spleen and gall bladder. Clark eventually recovered but was held out of a playoff game and a season opener in Denver in subsequent years.

"There are a number of players who have played with that in Denver," Quinn said. "I know Ryan went through a really rough experience with that. Everybody’s different with it. I’m no doctor to tell what and what not to. But I can rest assured that we’ve been through every precaution that we possibly could to always look out for the guys."

Coleman, a big-play threat expected to take some of the load from Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman, missed practice time earlier in training camp with a foot injury. Last year as a rookie, the former third-round pick from Indiana began the season as the starting running back and finished with 392 yards on 87 carries with a touchdown. Coleman lost his starting job to Freeman after suffering a rib injury in Week 2.

Coleman’s early departure Sunday allowed undrafted rookie Brandon Wilds to get more snaps behind Freeman. The Falcons already are without third-string running back Terron Ward, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

In other news, Falcons first-round draft pick Keanu Neal was in pads and participated in 11-on-11 drills coming off a "trunk" injury. Neal, who missed last week’s preseason opener against the Redskins, said he’ll be ready to make his debut Thursday night at Cleveland. Fellow strong safety Kemal Ishmael will be held out with a shoulder sprain.

Kicker Matt Bryant and tight end D.J. Tialavea both were held out of Sunday's practice with injuries.