Free safety Erik Harris left Sunday’s game with a chest injury early in the first quarter against the Camolina Panthers. It looked like he may have had a shoulder issue a few plays before he eventually left the field. He walked off the field with a trainer, went to the blue medical tent then made his way to the locker room, a concerning combination suggesting we may be dealing with a more serious injury.
The Falcons quickly listed him as questionable to return, designating his injury as to his chest.
Erik Harris (chest) questionable to return for the Falcons.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) December 12, 2021
Harris was one of a slew of cheap veterans signed by Terry Fontenot early in the preseason. Harris never really shined in the league, and at 31, appeared unlikely to turn into a play maker at this point in his career. He has 45 tackles and 8 passes defended through the season, but has typically been a problematic part of a problematic defense.
His loss is more problematic with second-round rookie Richie Grant ruled out for today’s game. It could and should open things up for inconsistent yet talented defensive back Jaylinn Hawkins. If Harris has anything worse than a very minor injury, the Falcons may put him on injured reserve and give the opportunity for younger players to develop this late in the year.
Update: Harris was officially ruled out. While the specifics of his injury are unclear, there may be a good chance he does not return this season with only a handful of games remaining.
Erik Harris (chest) has been ruled OUT.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) December 12, 2021