The Atlanta Falcons added veteran linebacker Lofa Tatupu this offseason in the hopes that he could not only make a comeback, but that his experience could benefit some of the younger players. It looks like Tatupu’s comeback will be somewhat delayed.
Tatupu, who was signed to a two-year contract in March, suffered a serious pectoral injury in the weight room last Friday and will not be able to join the team when camp opens on Thursday.
Tatupu was thought to be in serious competition with second-year linebacker Akeem Dent for the starting middle linebacker position. Dent had previously stated how beneficial it was to not only have Tatupu there to compete with, but also to gain invaluable knowledge from.
“He’s helping me out a lot in terms of trying to understand everything. A guy like Lofa, that has been to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro player, it’s been great for me.” said Dent in an earlier interview.
Tatupu is set to see a specialist in order to determine the severity of the injury, and the Falcons can only hope that it’s not severe enough to sideline Tatupu for an extended period of time.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith stated, “At this point, we do not know the extent of the injury, but we expect to have more information early next week.”
This is a bigger loss than some may see, because although Tatupu hasn’t played since the 2010 season, he was looked at as an important piece of the puzzle in helping to replace linebacker Curtis Lofton, who opted to join the New Orleans Saints as a free-agent.
Tatupu has 410 tackles, 8.5 sacks. 10 interceptions, and 2 defensive touchdowns in a six-year NFL career. He sat out the 2011 season after being released by the Seattle Seahawks.