Falcons LB Weatherspoon suffers season-ending torn Achilles

The Atlanta Falcons' new-look defense will be without one of its star players in 2014, as linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will be sidelined with a torn Achilles tendon.

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon has tallied eight sacks and two interceptions in his four seasons in Atlanta.

Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons announced on Tuesday that their top linebacker Sean Weatherspoon would miss the entire 2014 season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

Weatherspoon was put on injured reserve-designated to return last season and missed seven games with a foot injury. He also missed the final two games of the season with a knee injury. The former first-round pick out of Missouri was set to play his fifth season.

Weatherspoon, who had not taken part in Organized Team Activities, was working on the side with Falcons director of medicine and performance Marty Lauzon when he came up lame. Afterwards, he took a few steps gingerly.

The Falcons sent him for more testing and announced the news on Tuesday evening.

"During Sean's run today with our medical staff, he suffered an injury," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said in a statement. "We sent Sean to the doctor for some additional testing and evaluation and unfortunately the results showed that he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Sean had been working extremely hard to get back on the field, but regrettably he will miss the entire 2014 season. He will have a procedure done in the near future and we expect him to make a full recovery."

Last season, Falcons defensive end/outside linebacker Kroy Biermann suffered a torn Achilles' in Week 2 and defensive tackle Corey Peters suffered one late in the season. In 2012, cornerback Brent Grimes also suffered a torn Achilles, making Weatherspoon the fourth defensive starter to suffer the injury in a relatively short period of time.

As the Falcons appear ready to move to a 3-4 base defense, Weatherspoon's place was being held during OTAs by Joplo Bartu, who was an undrafted free agent last season. Bartu would appear to be the one to start in Weatherspoon's position. Bartu started 12 games last season.​

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