FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons punt returner/running back Avery Williams “will probably be done for the year” after tearing an ACL during the team’s open OTA on Friday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, coach Arthur Smith said Wednesday.

Smith said “it’s a good sign” that Williams will have surgery Thursday — less than a week after the injury.

“We love Avery,” Smith said. “He’s got the right mindset and fully expect him to come back ready to roll.”

Williams averaged 16.2 yards per punt return and 19.6 yards per kick return last season. Beginning his career as a cornerback out of Boise State with a primary focus on special teams, Williams moved to running back in 2022 and had 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown along with 13 carries for 61 yards.

Smith listed cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Dee Alford and receivers Josh Ali and Penny Hart as potential punt return candidates for Atlanta this season.

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