The Falcons start OTAs next week and they’ll be doing it without two of their starting linebackers.
Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon are both recovering from surgeries that will keep them on the sidelines when organized team activities get underway. Neither player is expected to be out for very long and, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they will “definitely” be on the field during the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.
Nicholas had sports hernia surgery, an operation that normally requires six-to-eight weeks of rehab before a player can get back onto the field. Nicholas led the team with 97 tackles last season and is slated for another year starting on the strong-side of the defense.
Weatherspoon, who had 95 tackles in 2012 despite missing three games with an ankle injury, had arthroscopic knee surgery. Weatherspoon also had three sacks and one interception while starting all 13 games that he played for Atlanta.
With Akeem Dent entering his second season as the team’s middle linebacker, the Falcons are set at linebacker heading into the season. They are short on experienced depth, however, so any reps missed by Nicholas and Weatherspoon will be put to good use over the next couple of weeks.