Atlanta Falcons linebacker Lofa Tatupu released; career in jeopardy?

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The Atlanta Falcons announced that they have released linebacker Lofa Tatupu with an injury settlement because of a torn pectoral muscle leaving the question if the often injured three-time Pro Bowl player’s career is coming to a close.

Tatupu had been out of the NFL for a year when he tried out for the New Orleans Saints during the offseason in an attempt at a comeback after being released by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.

The Saints passed on signing him and Tatupu headed to work out for the Falcons who signed him immediately.  In a twist, Tatupu was brought in to replace linebacker Curtis Lofton who ended up signing with the Saints.

Tatupu’s comeback was on track until last week when the Falcons said that the linebacker had injured his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.  The muscle injury was at first thought to be just a strain, but then was shown to be torn leading the Falcons to sign linebacker Mike Peterson.

Peterson’s signing was a foreshadowing that Tatupu’s release was coming since they only had rookie Akeem Dent to come in for Tatupu.  The Falcons ended up releasing Tatupu, giving him $600,000 in the injury settlement.

The decision to release Tatupu and cut their losses signaled that the Falcons were ready to move on, since they obviously had no desire to try place him on the physically unable to perform list or eventually injured reserve.