Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch. Here is the news of the day and some other notes from practice.
Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent at the team's facilities the day after he was drafted in 2011. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)
Falcons first-string middle linebacker Akeem Dent returned to contact practice Sunday after being cleared from a concussion. He will play in Friday’s third exhibition game against the Dolphins.
Dent had been in the NFL’s concussion protocol after he suffered a head injury in the exhibition season opener against the Ravens. He was injured on punt coverage in the second quarter. Dent missed last week’s game against the Bengals.
“He participated today fully and he is ready to go,” coach Mike Smith said after Sunday’s final practice of training camp. “We anticipate that he will be ready to go [Friday] barring any injuries that may take place between now and then.”
Dent, the second-year player out of Georgia, has been the top middle linebacker in training camp since the season-ending loss of Lofa Tatupu before the start of camp. Dent is replacing Curtis Lofton, last season’s leading tackler.
“I think it’s very important not only in the evaluation period, but the maturation process,” Smith said of Dent playing Friday. “We want him to be out there on the field playing the game full speed. We only got to evaluate him part of one game.
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