Today the Atlanta Falcons announced that middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who was signed in April to a 2-year contract, will miss the entire 2012 season with a torn pectoral muscle suffered last weekend while lifting weights.
Tatupu was examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday, who determined that the injury was serious enough to require surgery.
The middle linebacker position was vacated when former Falcon Curtis Lofton left to sign with the New Orleans Saints during free agency. It was thought that Tatupu would compete with second-year linebacker Akeem Dent for the starting middle linebacker spot. Tatupu received a $600,000 signing bonus and has a $1.25 million playing time escalator clause in his contract.
Tatupu, who has had a history of injury problems in the past, was hoping to make a comeback after sitting out the entire 2011 season. He started all 16 games for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 after limited playing time in 2009 due to pectoral and hamstring injuries.
Prior to this injury, Tatupu had wanted to prove to the rest of the league that he still had what it took to start in the NFL.
“I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder because they told me I didn’t belong in this league in the first place,” Tatupu said.
During his career with Seattle, Tatupu had 410 tackles, 10 interceptions, seven forced fumbles, and was named to three Pro Bowl teams.
The Falcons did seem prepared for the worst news in this case however. On Friday, they re-signed veteran linebacker Mike Peterson, who had not been tendered an offer when his contract originally expired in March.