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Falcons Roster Update: Hurst Close to Return

The Atlanta Falcons have made a series of roster moves ahead of their clash with the Carolina Panthers.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst is one step closer to game action as he has been designated to return to practice the team announced on Tuesday.

Hurst was one of several moves as the Falcons also signed defensive back Chris Armstrong to the practice squad while releasing cornerback Chris Williamson and offensive tackle Rick Leonard.

Hurst is considered a co-starter at tight end with Kyle Pitts if the Falcons are in their two-tight end set. He has started five games this season and has 20 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown.

Hurst is in the final year of his contract and has five games to try and shop himself in what has been an otherwise disappointing season. He figured to be a major part of Falcons head coach Arthur Smith's two-tight end sets with first-round pick Kyle Pitts.

Williamson has bounced on and off the Falcons practice squad this season. He has five tackles on the year and started Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins. It won't be a surprise if Williamson is back with the Falcons before the season ends.

Armstrong could be brought in to provide insurance in case starting cornerback Fabian Moreau is out longer than expected. Moreau left the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday with a hamstring injury.

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Rick Leonard was signed to the practice squad in November without making an appearance for the Falcons. He was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but hasn't played in an NFL game despite bouncing around NFL practice squads for four seasons.