(NEW YORK) — At one point, Lofa Tatupu was considered one of the top linebackers in the NFL, but now he can’t even stay on the field. The Falcons announced that Tatupu will miss the entire 2012 season with a torn pectoral muscle.
The 29-year-old Tatupu signed a two-year contract with the Falcons in March after missing the entire 2011 season as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He may wind up never playing a down for the Falcons despite the contract. He also tore his pectoral muscle back in 2009, which cost him all but five games that season.
The loss of Tatupu could prove to be a big blow to the Falcons defense. Linebacker Curtis Lofton, who led the team in tackles the last three seasons, signed with the New Orleans Saints during the offseason. To replace Tatupu, the team will look to either rookie third-round pick Akeem Dent or veteran linebacker Mike Peterson in the starting group on defense.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN