By Thursday, Tuioti-Mariner had found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, Tuioti-Mariner will have to fight for a spot on the Steelers roster as they just added outside linebacker Taco Charlton behind Chris Wormley last week after trading outside LB Melvin Ingram to the Chiefs. Derrek Tuszka is the other outside linebacker right behind T.J. Watt on the depth chart.
ALL the latest Falcons news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Falcons newsletter here!
The Falcons Releasing Tuioti-Mariner Came By Surprise
The release of Tuioti-Mariner came by quite a surprise as he was tied with Dante Fowler Jr. for team leader of sacks with two each. He’s played in six games for Atlanta this season, playing 18% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps, and was most recently a healthy scratch in Week 9’s victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Tuito-Mariner, 25, initially went undrafted in 2018 out of UCLA when the Falcons picked him up. He spent his rookie year on the practice squad before playing in eight games in 2019. He saw action in all 16 games last season and even earned himself Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in Week 12. During that week he recovered a fumble forced by Foye Oluokon on Raiders’ QB Derek Carr along with a strip sack, which he recovered himself in the team’s 43-6 victory.
It seems the Falcons are more comfortable with James Vaughters, Brandon Copeland and rising rookie Ade Ogundeji on the line and unfortunately no longer have a role for Tuito-Mariner. Not to mention the fact that Dante Fowler is nearing his return from the injured reserve.
Dante Fowler Returned to Practice
In some more Falcons news, starting edge Dante Fowler returned to practice on Wednesday.
Fowler landed on the injured reserve list with a knee injury on October 22nd after being injured during the New York Jets in Week 5. He currently leads the team in pressures, sacks, and hits. Through five games so far, Folwer has recorded 12 tackles, two sacks, three QB hits, two forced fumbles and one pass defended.
“It doesn’t mean he’s going to necessarily play, but he’s going to practice,” Smith said before Tuesday’s practice, via AP News.
As of Friday, November 10, Fowler has a 19-day window that he can be elevated to the active roster. His return will be a huge boost for a struggling Falcons pass rush, especially this Sunday against a dangerous Dallas offense.