Falcons Lose Another Key Starter to Season-Ending Injury


The Atlanta Falcons have lost offensive guard Andy Levitre to a season-ending triceps injury, the third player to go down with a major injury in the first two weeks of the season.

Levitre left Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers with what was initially described as an elbow injury.

After further examination, it was determined Tuesday that he’s done for the year because of a triceps problem.

Wes Schweitzer will take over Levitre’s spot in the starting lineup.

The Falcons (1-1) also signed guard Zac Kerin to bolster the depth up front.

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“After receiving the tests results on Andy’s injury from Sunday’s game, it has been determined that he will miss the remainder of the season with a triceps injury,” coach Dan Quinn said in a statement Tuesday, an off day for the players. “Andy worked extremely hard to get back on the field after a similar injury last year, and there is no doubt his leadership will continue to be felt this year. We have a ton of respect for Andy and what he stands for, and what he means to our team.”

Levitre’s injury comes after defensive stalwarts Keanu Neal and Deion Jones went down in a Week 1 loss to Philadelphia.

Neal (knee) is out for the year, while Jones (foot) will have to miss at least eight games, though the Falcons are hopeful that he’ll be able to return late in the season.

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The Falcons also were without starting running back Devonta Freeman in Week 2. He’s got a bruised knee, which is not thought to be a long-term problem but could keep him out for this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

Levitre has started 47 games for the Falcons since being acquired from Tennessee for a sixth-round pick just before the 2015 season. This was the 10th NFL season for the 32-year-old lineman, who began his career with the Buffalo Bills after being a second-round pick in 2009.

Schweitzer started for Atlanta last season but lost his No. 1 job after the team signed Brandon Fusco in free agency.

Now, Schweitzer is back in the lineup.

“Well, I think he’s come a long way in the handful of years he’s been with us,” Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said of Schweitzer. “I know the experience of starting and playing last year is going to help him moving forward for sure. But we have a lot of confidence in him, too. That was a competitive battle up front for those guys and who was going to start.”

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“You know, it’s disappointing,” Ryan said of Levitre’s injury. “You never want to see somebody go down, but we’re fortunate to have experienced guys that are able to step in there and do a nice job for us.”

The 27-year-old Kerin played in 15 games over three seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. He also spent time with the New York Giants and Detroit, starting his lone game with the Lions.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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