Atlanta Falcons release LB Thomas Howard; activate LB Sean Weatherspoon


Aug 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (56) on the sidelines in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome. The Jaguars won 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

For about a week, we have known that the leader of the Atlanta Falcons defense, Sean Weatherspoon, was on his way back to action, but on Tuesday evening, the Falcons provided clarity into the situation.

Simply put, the team had to make a roster move in order to bring ‘Spoon back into the fold full-time, and Thomas Howard was the casualty. In 2 games since being signed as a mid-season injury replacement, the 30-year-old linebacker failed to register any defensive statistics, and frankly, the upside to the move was limited from the moment he set foot in Flowery Branch.

On the (much) more positive side, the Falcons will have Weatherspoon in the lineup on Sunday for the first time since week 2, when he suffered a severe foot injury. Last season, Weatherspoon notched 95 tackles and 3 sacks in 13 games, but more importantly, his athleticism and attitude are two things that this defense has been sorely lacking in recent weeks.

It remains to be seen just how healthy Weatherspoon is at this stage, but all signs point to him running out of the tunnel on Sunday against the Bucs.