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Kirk Cousins on if he would have signed with Falcons knowing draft plan: 'I don't really deal in hypotheticals'

With the Atlanta Falcons taking the field for offseason activities this week, quarterback Kirk Cousins has continued to do his best to diffuse whatever awkwardness has lingered after his new team drafted his potential replacement when they took Michael Penix Jr. No. 8 overall.

Still, there's one question Cousins can't seem to fully dismiss: Would he have signed with the Falcons if he knew they'd be taking a quarterback in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft?

"I don't really deal in hypotheticals," Cousins told reporters on Tuesday. "We could go down that path for a long time in a lot of ways, and it just doesn't do us any good.

"I'm excited for this opportunity. I think it's a real privilege to be a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, and I'm trying to make good on the opportunity that they've given me with the way I work each day."

As the two quarterbacks went to work for the start of this week's OTAs, both trying to make the best of the situation neither asked for, Cousins and Penix often threw side by side on the team's practice fields.

Cousins said he relished the competition with all the Falcons' signal-callers, including Taylor Heinicke, calling the QB room a "working force for one another." Earlier in the day, Cousins appeared on the “Bussin' with the Boys” podcast, denying there was any "beef" with the Falcons over the selection of Penix.

Cousins also made sure to give Penix his blessing to this point for how he's handled the situation. Last week Penix said he was “blessed” to learn from Cousins.

"Mike's been great," Cousins told reporters on Tuesday. "(There's) always going to be competition in this league, and you've always got to go out and earn it. I'm going to control what I can control and also understand there's a lot that you don't control. I learned a long time ago that you've got to focus on what you can control."

On Tuesday, Cousins retold the draft day story, explaining how the Falcons called during Round 1 while he was driving home from a team event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, telling him that they planned to draft Penix with the eighth overall pick. Cousins called it "pretty straightforward" and attempted to move on from the well-worn story.

Very little about his brief Falcons tenure has been straightforward, however.

Cousins' biggest longer-term hurdle remains the torn Achilles tendon he suffered last October. He's about six months into a nine-month rehab but said he hoped to be ready even sooner than the target date of August.

Falcons head coach Raheem Morris has said Cousins should be pretty close to a full go by training camp. After testing his Achilles during Tuesday's non-contact sessions, Cousins said he's feeling great.

"It's coming along really well," he said of his rehab. "Today I felt the best I've felt. … Falcons training staff is doing a great job with me on a daily basis on the rehab and I think everything is trending in the right direction.

"I wasn't sure when I stood here in March -- and I had just gotten here -- how much I'd be able to do at practice, but today I felt I was able to do everything I would have normally done. That's big for that stuff I talked about initially: building continuity, getting shared history together. So that's a huge help, and (I'm) excited to see how fast we can heal from here."

Cousins' drama doesn't end with his health, though. There remains the unresolved investigation into if the Falcons tampered when Cousins signed his four-year, $180 million contract with Atlanta fewer than two hours after the free-agency window opened on March 13.

In his introductory press conference back in March, Cousins referenced talking with the Falcons' medical staff, which led to the tampering investigation. Although he deferred to the league's ongoing review, Cousins suggested that his comments were much ado about nothing.

"The league is still working their way through it, so I'll let that play its course before I say anything out of turn," he said. "If I said anything at the press conference, it was because it was so innocent."

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