Adam Schefter of ESPN tweets that the Falcons worked out free agent linebacker Lofa Tatupu earlier today. Tatupu sat out all of the 2011 season due to injuries after being released by the Seattle Seahawks last summer after the lockout. Tatupu has been making rounds with workouts since the end of the season, including working out with the Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints last month.
Tatupu managed to play and start in all 16 games in 2010, but finished with 88 tackles, a career-low in seasons where he played in 15 or more games. Tatupu was a second round pick for the Seahawks in 2005. He emerged quickly, earning a Pro Bowl bid as a rookie, helping to anchor a Seahawk defense that went all the way to the Super Bowl. He would also make the Pro BOwl in 2006 and 2007. He missed 11 games in 2009 with a torn pectoral muscle, but it was knee injuries that helped limit him in 2010. He would undergo arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Tatupu’s late father, Mosi, was a Pro Bowl fullback who spent nearly all of his professional career with the New England Patriots (1978-90).
Tatupu could be seen as a potential insurance policy if the Falcons aren’t able to retain free agent Curtis Lofton next week with the signing period beginning on Tuesday. Like Lofton, Tatupu was never the biggest or fastest player, but known for his toughness and leadership. Lofton has been criticized for his issues in coverage over the years, recording just 3 interceptions and 15 pass breakups in four seasons with the Falcons. That was an area that was considered a strength for Tatupu in the past, with 10 interceptions and 35 breakups in nearly five and a half season. However, any decline due to Tatupu’s injury concerns could make any upgrade potential negligible.