FLOWERY BRANCH — An injury to Harry Douglas and the continued contract holdout by Roddy White have combined to make wide receiver a position of rising concern for the Atlanta Falcons.
Douglas left Wednesday’s practice with an apparent left knee injury. The team had no immediate report on the severity of the injury. He was carted off the practice field after he was unable to walk without assistance.
Douglas has received more work with the first-team offense in training camp while White is holding out for a new contract.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff, who had been upbeat about the talks with White, said Wednesday his optimism has waned.
Dimitroff told The Associated Press that negotiations with White and his agent, Jonathan Feinsod, may have to wait until after the season.
"I’m a little bit disappointed with how things have slowed down," Dimitroff said. "I feel like Roddy needs to be here and he should be here with his teammates to continue to develop and grow.
"We want him to be here and with the way the negotiations are going to this point, this may be something we need to readdress at the end of the season. As we all know, Roddy is under contract and he would have to play at his current contract."
White’s contract, signed before his 2005 rookie season, calls for him to earn $2.5 million this season. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2008, when he had 88 receptions for a team-record 1,382 yards and seven touchdowns.
Feinsod said in an e-mail he had no comment on Dimitroff’s statement.
White has missed the first five days of training camp and has accrued fines of more than $79,000, or $15,888 per day. He is working out with former Alabama-Birmingham teammates in Birmingham, Ala.
"I think there’s a point in missing training camps that it becomes a disadvantage to the player, in this case Roddy White," Dimitroff said. "That’s something he and his representatives have to consider as well.
"Again, we’re positive about him. We want him here, just not as encouraged about the direction of the negotiations at this point."
Neither Dimitroff nor Feinsod have revealed details of White’s request for a new contract or the Falcons’ offer.
The Falcons were concerned about their lack of depth at receiver even before Douglas was injured on Wednesday. The team signed rookie free agent receiver Dicky Lyons Jr. on Tuesday, but Lyons was released after one practice.
After catching a pass from Matt Ryan in Wednesday’s practice, Douglas fell and grabbed his left leg. He tried to stand with help from teammate Michael Jenkins before again falling to the ground.
Trainer Ron Medlin was summoned, and Dimitroff also walked up to Douglas, who was driven off the field on a cart. Douglas had his head down as he rode in the cart.
"He’s done a good job," Ryan said of Douglas. "He worked hard during the offseason. Hopefully he’s all right."
Douglas, a 2008 third-round pick from Louisville, had 23 catches for 320 yards in his rookie season.
"Anytime you lose any player it’s not the best situation," said coach Mike Smith. "Harry is an integral part of our team. We need all our guys to be healthy."
If the injury to Douglas is significant and White’s holdout continues, Dimitroff may have to look for help at receiver.
"This is not a time of year where there are a lot of players available," Dimitroff said.
The Falcons’ other top receivers are Michael Jenkins and Brian Finneran.