Report: Turner OK with reduced workload in Atlanta

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith let it be known at the owners meeting that Michael Turner wouldn’t be getting overworked in 2010.

That’s the plan, at least. Often times, coaches will say they don’t want to overwork a back but when you’ve got a workhorse, well, you ride him. If the Falcons follow through with Smith’s intentions, it’s fine by Turner.

That’s what the back told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the news spread.

"That doesn't bother me," Turner said. "I just want to be ready when my number is called. Like I said last year, nobody can predict how many times I'll be able to touch it this year. We just have to take it game by game."

Turner carried the ball 376 times when he broke onto the scene in 2008, delivering on the big contract the Falcons gave him to sign him in free agency. He was on pace for similar numbers this past season before Carolina Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble hit him, leaving Turner with a pesky high ankle sprain. It essentially cost him half the season, and he was performing better, on pace to score 20 touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry, nearly a half-yard better than the previous season. Smith doesn’t want to wear his man out, though, in a long season.

"I understand that the coaches want to take care of me, and that's for the team not just for me so that I can be around a little longer," Turner said.

He’s just about completed rehabilitation for the ankle injury and is already taking part in the clu b’s voluntary offseason workout program. Once the season comes, we’ll find out really how much the Falcons want to reduce his workload. Spending a high pick on a complementary back might make that easier, but the Falcons have other needs.

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