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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Broncos working out linebacker Lofa Tatupu after long hiatus


By on 3/05/2014 11:00:00 AM

The Denver Broncos have been actively searching for another linebacker and are testing the veteran waters before free agency begins on March 11.  According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, the Broncos are working out former Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu, a six-year veteran who has not played since 2010.

Tatupu was drafted in 2005 by the Seattle Seahawks from USC and had an impressive first four years at the middle linebacker position.  From 2005 to 2008, he recorded 430 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks and nine interceptions. 

In his rookie season he helped the Seahawks get to Super Bowl XL against the Pittsburgh Steelers and accounted for 22 tackles and an interception in three playoff games. 

Tatupu was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Seahawks from 2005-07, but things began to go south in the 2009 season when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle and was placed on the injured reserve list, missing 11 games. 

JkingsSocal via Wikimedia Commons
The 2010 season was the last time Tatupu saw the field, when he played all season but posted mediocre numbers for the Seahawks, with 88 combined tackles, one sack and one interception.  Seattle released him after that season.

In 2011 Tatupu had two knee surgeries and began to slowly work his way back to football.  The Atlanta Falcons signed him to a two-year deal with a maximum value of $5.75 million, in which only $600,000 was guaranteed.  Tatupu was unlucky again, tearing another pectoral muscle in training camp, ending his season before it started.  The Falcons took the loss and cut him in July of 2012, almost four months after he was signed.

Tatupu will be 32 years old this year and he is trying his best to not sit out a fourth year.  The Broncos are auditioning other linebackers, and Tatupu's visit is considered to be a "kick-the-tire type of session" with Denver. 

The Broncos thrive on letting players on the defense compete and earn a starting spot, and that's what Tatupu would have to do. If he shows he's healthy in this workout, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Broncos sign him to a one-year "prove it" deal they have shown to like so much.  On Monday, they worked out free agent D'Qwell Jackson who was released by the Browns last week and is in high demand. They have expressed hope in signing him to become their starting middle linebacker.

Just like the other 31 teams in the NFL, the Broncos are testing all waters in free agency.  There are approximately 55 linebackers set to hit free agency from the 2013 season, and the chances of Tatupu getting signed are slim.  He just doesn't want to give up his dream, not just yet.


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