Falcons Re-Sign Versatile Linebacker 2 Days After Unexpected Release

Falcons re-sign Brandon Copeland

Getty Former New England Patriots LB Brandon Copeland.

The Atlanta Falcons kicked off their 2021 NFL season with a disappointing 32-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and are set to face the reigning Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.

With a tough matchup ahead, a lot of work needs to be done. To start, the Falcons brought back versatile defender Brandon Copeland, the team announced Monday afternoon, September 13.

The Falcons had cut Copeland on Saturday in a surprising move, but it looks like the team was just making sure his salary wasn’t guaranteed.

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Copeland’s NFL Resume

Copeland entered the NFL in 2013 after signing with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Pennsylvania.

The 30-year-old split his time on the practice squads of the Ravens and Tennessee Titans before landing with the Detroit Lions. He played in a combined 32 games for Detroit in 2015 and 2016, primarily on special teams. In 2016, Copeland showed he could play both on the edge and off the ball at linebacker and earned an overall grade of 68.2 on 140 snaps. He added an additional 308 special teams snaps and graded well on punt coverage.

The following season, Copeland spent the year on injured reserve after suffering a torn pectoral muscle ahead of Week 1.

Once he was healthy again, the Jets picked him up and he started ten games and contributed 35 tackles (24 solo), plus five sacks, eight tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits. He stayed in New York for a second season and saw action in 12 games (three starts).

More recently, he spent last season with the New England Patriots and appeared in just six games (four starts) due to a torn pec. He ended the year with 12 total tackles (six solo) with one tackle for loss.

In nine seasons, Copeland has 7.0 career sacks in 66 games with 18 starts.

At 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, Copeland adds size and depth to the Falcons’ outside linebacker group and will likely play a key role on special teams.


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