NFL

Falcons release veterans Nicholas, Samuel

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ATLANTA (AP)

The Atlanta Falcons have released two former longtime starters, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas, from their defense.

The 33-year-old Samuel started only 10 games in 2013, when the Falcons finished a disappointing 4-12. He was a spectator down the stretch as the team turned to rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.

Samuel, who began his career with the Patriots, had six interceptions in his two seasons in Atlanta. He has 51 career interceptions, including a career-best 10 with New England in 2006.

Nicholas made 51 starts in seven seasons with the Falcons, including only four starts in 2013. He was a fourth-round pick in 2007.

The 30-year-old Nicholas started 15 games in 2012, when he had a career-high 95 tackles, two sacks and one interception.

Tagged: Falcons, Asante Samuel, Stephen Nicholas

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