Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Kaleb McGary, returning from a heart procedure, went through his first full practice Monday and could play in the team’s final preseason game on Thursday night.
McGary, the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 draft, mostly worked with the second team at right tackle early in camp before undergoing cardiac ablation on July 31, a procedure designed to correct heart rhythm issues.
The team said McGary previously had two similar procedures, which are considered minimally invasive. NFL teams were aware of his condition before the draft.
“It’s awesome,” he told reporters Monday about being cleared to practice. “It’s been really boring just having to sit in meetings and not getting to do anything in practice. The little bit of gratification you get throughout is gone. It’s been really awesome getting to play again.”
The 6-foot-6, 306-pound McGary played his college ball at Washington and twice was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection. He also won the 2018 Morris Trophy as the conference’s top offensive lineman.
Coach Dan Quinn said he had anticipated McGary to compete for the starting job if healthy throughout camp, and it’s unclear how quickly the rookie can make a move or if he’ll play Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Part of getting ready to play is participating fully in practice and having the confidence to do that,” Quinn said. “We’ll take him all the way through today and tomorrow, but as far as the first day goes, he definitely hit all of the markers that we were hoping to hit. He looked good and felt (like) himself out there, so that was important.”