Akeem Dent returns to practice for Falcons

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Akeem Dent’s drive for the starting middle linebacker job in Atlanta hit a snag when he went down with a concussion in the team’s first preseason game.

It can now resume. Dent made his return to the practice field on Saturday after a week spent working in the classroom and in meetings while letting the protocols for dealing with a concussion run their course . Dent only participated in the non-contact segment of practice and coach Mike Smith said they’re waiting for one last go-ahead before Dent can get back to doing everything on the field.

“We have to get him cleared finally tonight, so he will be cleared tonight and be back to full participation tomorrow in practice,” Smith said, via the team’s website.

Mike Peterson started in place of Dent, a third-round pick last year, against the Bengals on Thursday. Once Dent does get full clearance, it will be interesting to see if the Falcons keep him on special teams. Dent was injured against the Ravens while covering a punt and that job could get taken off his plate if he’s going to be the starting middle linebacker in Atlanta this season.