Douglas out for season


AP Sports Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Atlanta Falcons' depth chart at wide receiver doesn't look much like coach Mike Smith planned.

Smith confirmed Thursday that Harry Douglas will miss the season with a knee injury. Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White is in a contract holdout, and so suddenly the Falcons' three-receiver formation includes Eric Weems, who has one career catch, and Brian Finneran, who hasn't started a game since 2005.

Both Weems, who rooms with Douglas at the Falcons' training camp, and Finneran, who missed two seasons with knee injuries, said they felt pain for Douglas when he hurt his left knee in practice Wednesday.

"The way he went down was a bad feeling, a bad feeling," Finneran said.

The teammates' fears were realized when Smith said Douglas tore his anterior cruciate ligament and is out for the year.

Smith said Michael Jenkins, Finneran and Weems would be the starters in a three-receiver formation "if we had to go right today."

"Of course there's a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and the first game," Smith said.

Weems spent most of the last two seasons on the Falcons' practice squad, and had only one catch for 4 yards last season. Finneran caught 21 passes, including his first touchdown catch since 2005, but did not start last season.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team may have to wait until NFL roster cuts to find help at wide receiver.

"A lot of players become available on Sept. 1," Dimitroff said. "This is not a time of year where there are a lot of players available."

Weems originally signed with the Falcons in 2007 as an undrafted rookie from Bethune-Cookman and played in six games last year. Even if White ends his holdout, Weems seems destined for a more prominent role this year, as he also will have a chance to replace Douglas on punt returns.

"I returned a little bit in college," Weems said.

"I'm definitely comfortable doing that."

Weems, receiver Chandler Williams and running back Jerious Norwood fielded punts on Thursday.

The bigger concern is obviously the sudden lack of experience and depth at wide receiver.