Falcons Shift Plans at the LB Spot with Losing Lofa Tatupu

The Falcons are making new plans at middle linebacker after losing Lofa Tatupu for the season because of a chest muscle injury.

The Falcons reported Wednesday for Thursday’s first day of training camp with second-year player Akeem Dent suddenly cast as the favorite to replace Curtis Lofton in the middle of the defense. Dent spent most of his rookie season on special teams.

Tatupu, who signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract with Atlanta in March, was released Wednesday. Only $600,000 of the deal was guaranteed.

Coach Mike Smith said Tuesday that Tatupu will have season-ending surgery after suffering the pectoral injury in a workout. Tatupu, a three-time Pro Bowler with Seattle, did not play last season and was expected to compete with Dent for the starting job.

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