Newly signed linebacker Lofa Tatupu suffered a pectoral injury last Thursday while working out in the weight room, head coach Mike Smith told Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz. The team later confirmed the injury.
“Lofa sustained a pectoral injury while working out recently,” Smith said. “At this point, we do not know the extent of the injury, but we expect to have more information early next week.”
Tatupu played for the Seattle Seahawks for six seasons before taking a year off last season and then signing with Atlanta in March.
Three times Tatupu amassed more than 100 tackles in a season and three times was selected to the Pro Bowl. He only played five games in 2009 and has been plagued with injuries ever since.
Tatupu and Akeem Dent were expected to battle for the open middle linebacker spot vacated by Curtis Lofton after he signed with New Orleans. Tatupu has the experience but has been troubled by injuries while Dent is a strong worker who’s familiar with the team, but lacks game experience.
If Tatupu misses significant time because of the injury his chances of winning the starting job diminish. He’s set to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, July 23, according to the AJC.
This is the second injury in the linebacker corps since minicamp comcluded. Matt Hansen was injured while training in June and was waived Friday.
Training camp starts Thursday for the Falcons and the team does have an empty roster spot—because of the Hansen transaction—to look for a linebacker to bring into camp.