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Veteran LB Barnett still on Falcons' radar
July, 31, 2014
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com
Veteran inside linebacker Nick Barnett worked out for the Atlanta Falcons in June but wasn't signed. That didn't mean he fell out of consideration.
In fact, the 33-year-old remains on the Falcons' radar and could be brought in, depending on how the linebacker situation plays out through training camp. The team apparently was most impressed with Barnett's workout but signed veterans Tim Dobbins and Pat Angerer instead.
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Angerer's status is in question after he exited practice on Tuesday complaining of headaches. He might have sustained a concussion, although coach Mike Smith didn't immediately update Angerer's status.
There is no doubt the Falcons want a veteran presence to help guide an inexperienced group of inside linebackers. Sean Weatherspoon, the leader of the defense, was lost for the season with an offseason Achilles tear.
Second-year players Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu have continued to run with the first team with rookie Prince Shembo also getting a close look at the start of camp. Dobbins is more of a special-teamer while Angerer would be a solid upgrade inside if not for injury concerns.
As for Barnett, he was a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2003. He has 139 career starts and has recorded 100-plus tackles in eight of his 11 NFL seasons.
Barnett played with the Washington Redskins last season but was placed on injured reserve in December after tearing the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee against the Dallas Cowboys. All indications are his knee is fine now.