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'I Felt Like Myself': Falcons CB A.J. Terrell Makes Return vs. Bears

After a three-game absence, Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to the gridiron Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and made his presence felt throughout.

The Atlanta Falcons' 27-24 victory over the Chicago Bears this past Sunday came with mixed results for some if its young building blocks.

A pair of second-year pros, star tight end Kyle Pitts and emerging defensive lineman Ta'Quon Graham, both departed with lower-body injuries that ultimately led to their placement on injured reserve.

However, it wasn't all bad, as third-year cornerback A.J. Terrell, a reigning All-Pro, returned to the field for the first time since pulling his hamstring on the second drive of Atlanta's Week 7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Given three weeks to rest and recover, Terrell was well-utilized in his first game back, playing every snap. Asked afterwards how he felt, the 2020 first-round pick delivered a positive assessment.

"Good," Terrell said. "I played four quarters, I felt like myself. I was good."

Terrell allowed just two receptions for 29 yards, though he was on the receiving end of one of the better catches of the NFL season to date, a one-handed snag by Bears tight end Cole Kmet. Nonetheless, playing cover 3 on that play, Terrell's vision and speed to close over the top looked as good as it normally does, showing no signs of limitations.

He added four tackles, three of which were solo, and provided an element of physicality and reliability that Atlanta's secondary has sorely missed in his absence.

A limited participant in practice throughout the week, it wasn't a certainty that the 24-year-old would suit up - but he said he "knew I was playing when we came in," indicating the decision didn't come down to pre-game warmups.

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Terrell made his presence known throughout and played a key role in the Falcons victory, their first in three games. It was a significant win for Atlanta's playoff hopes, now sitting just half a game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the lead in the NFC South.

It's the first time Terrell's experienced the push for the division title as a professional, but the mindset he's adopted shows no signs of inexperience.

"Just continue to prep the right way," said Terrell regarding the next step. "Get all the details down and just (take) one game at a time."

The next game on Atlanta's schedule - and for Terrell's re-emergence - is a road trip to the nation's capital for a matchup against the Washington Commanders, with kickoff at FedEx Field is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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