Falcons Release Veteran LB from Non-Football Injury List

Duke Ejiofor

Getty Duke Ejiofor No. 53 of the Houston Texans.

Amid the massive NFL moves announced this week, the Atlanta Falcons made a small splash and released linebacker Duke Ejiofor from the non-football injury list on Wednesday, March 8.

The Falcons initially signed Ejiofor to their offseason roster back in January.

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The Houston Texans Drafted Ejiofor in 2018

Following three years at Wake Forest University, Ejiofor was selected by the Houston Texans in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, which happened to be his hometown team.

It was a huge surprise to him after the Texans showed no interest in him during and after the NFL scouting combine.

“I didn’t think they had any interest in me at first,” Ejiofor said in a post-draft interview back in 2018, via the CHRON. “Seeing them call me is the greatest blessing in the world.”

The 6-4, 275-pound outside linebacker was initially expected to go off the draft board a lot higher and had plenty of interest from the New England Patriots, but an injury setback brought his draft value down.

Ejiofor’s best season at Wake Forest came during his last season, where he recorded 50 tackles, 17 for losses, 10.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles as a junior. Through 38 games in three seasons as a Demon Deacon, Ejiofor registered 122 tackles and 23.5 sacks.

As an NFL rookie, he saw action in 12 games but recorded just one single sack, which is his only one still to this day.

Ejiofor’s football career has included more than just his college injury setback, as he suffered an ACL tear in 2019 and 2020, missing back-to-back seasons. He returned in 2021 but was waived by Houston after he failed his physical.

Falcons Signed 19 Reserve/Futures Contracts

Here is the full list:

DB Cornell Armstrong
OL Willie Beavers
OLB Quinton Bell
LB Jordan Brailford
LB Dorian Etheridge
WR Chad Hansen
RB Caleb Huntley
DB Luther Kirk
P Dom Maggio
OL Ryan Neuzil
DB Lafayette Pitts
TE John Raine
LB Rashad Smith
DE Nick Thurman
WR Austin Trammell
DB DeAundre Alford
WR/TE Brayden Lenius
CB/KR Corey Ballentine
TE Daniel Helm
OL Rashaad Coward

The only other outside linebacker Atlanta has signed so far is Quinton Bell, who spent the entire 2021 season on the Falcons’ practice squad. Bell joined the league just one year after Ejiofor and doesn’t have much more experience than him other than playing a small role on the Buccaneers’ special teams before coming to Atlanta.

The Falcons have several needs to address this offseason and adding help to their lackluster pass rush is one of them after they finished the 2021 season ranked dead last. So, expect Atlanta to sign some pass rush help once the new league year begins on March 16 and address the position in the 2022 NFL Draft come April.

In some other news, the Falcons now save $11 million in salary and salary-cap space after losing their No.1 wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, to a one-year suspension for gambling.

The Falcons, who were originally over the cap, are now sitting at $4,195,206 under the cap, according to a report from SportsTalkATL.com’s Matt Karoly.

He also noted that the release of Ejiofor should also free up another $825k.



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