The Falcons second-year middle linebacker Akeem Dent was cleared to return to contact practice Sunday. Dent suffered a concussion in the first preseason game versus the Baltimore Ravens on a special teams play. He will start Friday when the Falcons visit the Miami Dolphins.
Abiding by the league’s strict protocol in dealing with concussions, Dent was held out the second preseason game versus the Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday.
Dent was moved to first on the depth chart after Lofa Tatupu suffered a pectoral injury, effectively ending his season. The Falcons are looking to replace the middle linebacker void left by Curtis Lofton, who opted to become the New Orleans Saints’ middle linebacker.
Because he’s only a second-year player and a first-year starter, Dent needs all the reps he can get. The concussion undoubtedly set him back again; expect to see him on the field a lot in the next two preseason games.