Falcons QB Opens Up on Battling Back From Injury

Kurt Benkert

getty Kurt Benkert #6 of the Atlanta Falcons.

After a long recovery, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kurt Benkert is finally cleared to play for the upcoming 2020 season and is ecstatic to step back on the field again. Benkert injured his toe early on last year during the Falcons first preseason game.

Unfortunately, it was such a bad injury he ended up having to get surgery that basically reconstructed his big toe. He was out for the entire season.

His time spent in the preseason game prior to his injury and Atlanta’s 12-10 loss made an impression. He ended up leading the offense to all 10 of its points and threw for 185 yards with one touchdown pass to Brian Hill.

Realizing he would be out for the remainder of the season, Benkert and head coach Dan Quinn came to an agreement that he still wanted to play once he was healthy and Quinn wanted him to stick around—noting he had a promising future ahead.

‘Not the End of the World’

This wasn’t the first season-ending injury for Benkert, quite frankly it wasn’t the worst for him either. You see, Benkert was set to become the record-breaking, starting quarterback for East Carolina University but tore his ACL a week before the season opener—an injury that would change his career’s path forever.

This toe injury didn’t affect Benkert’s outlook on life, though it did suck. He continued to stay positive throughout the recovery process.

“The one in college was the hardest one because there’s so much uncertainty as a college player, you don’t know, Benkert said. Is this going to affect me getting into the NFL? How are people going to view me? You start thinking to yourself, are you injury prone? That was kind of just a freak injury.”

“The one in the preseason (2019) I got tackled wrong and there was nothing I could do. But a non-contact injury (ACL) is a little scary. But knock on wood I haven’t had anything like that happen since so it’s been good to kind of get over that hump. I know that if I get injured again later on down the line, I’m going to overcome it. So it’s not like it’s the end of the world. It was hard when I was young though.”

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On Learning From Teammates

Before signing with the Falcons, Benkert already had high hopes about coming to Atlanta and getting the chance to learn from veteran quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub.

Now, he gets to watch and learn from Ryan and Schaub day in and day out.

“Matt (Ryan) will chime in when he feels like he needs to. He’s very by the book on how he does things. So if he sees you being too risky or not going by the black and white way of doing it, he’s going to say like “hey this is kind of how I would do it and how I’ve done it” He’s very much like a coach. He’s been helpful.”

He also gets to learn and play alongside high-profile receivers such as Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

“Julio, he’s like a coach on the field. For how talented he is, you would expect him to not have to be so perfect on how he does things, but he’s like a perfectionist. And I think that rubs off on everybody.”

“Calvin loves football. You can tell it’s not just a paycheck to him. He loves it. He wants to play well and he wants to make big plays. He wants to win. I think that’s the cool thing about both of those guys. They’re at different points in their career but they approach it the same way.”

No. 1 Goal for 2020

After nearly a year of not being able to play football, Benkert is more than ready to get back out there.

However, he will have some competition this offseason with Atlanta’s other QBs, Schaub and Danny Etling. He’s not worried about competing. He’s focused on himself and his main goal is to be as accurate as possible.

“I just want to have a high completion percentage throughout all of offseason and just take care of the football. I know that I can make big plays. I can make big plays with my feet, throwing it out of the pocket, but I just want to show consistency through everything and just that I can take care of the ball. I think that’ll do enough on its own.”

“I’m just excited to just get back out and play football again.”

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