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Coleman practices, could be ready for Falcons' opener

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta defensive tackle Rod Coleman was told by doctors who repaired his torn right quadriceps in late April that he wouldn't play until October. But he may be ready for the Falcons' season opener.

Coleman said he "felt good, felt comfortable" after his first practice today.

The ten-year pro who had six sacks and 29 tackles last season won't play in Atlanta's final preseason game Friday night against Baltimore. But he could be ready for the team's first regular season game at Minnesota on September 9th.

Coleman participated in individual and one-on-one pass-rush drills.

Coleman has 44.5 sacks in the last four seasons, the most of any NFL interior defensive lineman in that span, according to the Falcons. He had 10.5 sacks and forced four fumbles in 2005.

Another starter on defense, free safety Chris Crocker, suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in Monday night's win over Cincinnati. Coach Bobby Petrino said tests showed no other injury to the knee.

Return specialist and backup cornerback Allen Rossum suffered a concussion Monday night and is not expected to play against Baltimore.

Linebacker Keith Brooking (calf), defensive end John Abraham (hip) and strong safety Lawyer Milloy (foot) were held out with injuries today but would be ready if the Falcons had a regular season game on Sunday, according to Petrino.

Because the players have such a quick turnaround between the Monday and Friday games, Petrino said he may hold out all his starters against Baltimore.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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