June 6, 2012; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent (52) during organized team activities at the Falcons training facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Akeem Dent Injury: Falcons Linebacker Cleared For Contact

Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent has been cleared for contact and will play in Atlanta's preseason game against the Dolphins on Friday.

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Akeem Dent Injury: Falcons Middle Linebacker Cleared To Return To Practice

Akeem Dent has been cleared to return to contact practice following his exit in an exhibition loss against the Baltimore Ravens with a concussion.

The frontrunner for the Atlanta Falcon's middle linebacker starting spot sat out last week's exhibition loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, in accordance with the league's concussion protocol program. The team is hoping that Dent will be able to make it through contact drills and be ready to play in the exhibition game against the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 24.

Dent had a strong rookie showing last year, gathering 20 tackles in 16 games played. Dent had two tackles in the game against the Ravens before exiting with injury.

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Akeem Dent Injury: Falcons Linebacker Participates In Non-Contact Drills

Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Akeem Dent participated in non-contact drills during Saturday's practice for the first time since sustaining a concussion in the preseason opener against Baltimore, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. Dent did not play in the Falcons' second preseason game against Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Dent, a second-year player from the University of Georgia, could be thrust into a starting role at middle linebacker this season thanks to Lofa Tatupu's injury and subsequent release and the departure of Curtis Lofton this offseason.

Dent told reporters that he stayed around the Falcons' facility during his recovery and attended defensive meetings and film sessions. Once Dent is finished with the NFL's protocol for returning from a concussion, he will be clear to return to full contact in practice.

Dent said he has no recollection of the hit that led to his concussion, according to Ledbetter.

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, head over to The Falcoholic, and be sure to check out SBNation's dedicated NFL hub.

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Akeem Dent Injury: Mike Smith Not Worried About Starting Linebacker

Falcons head coach Mike Smith indicated on Monday that Akeem Dent's condition is improving although he won't play in Thursday's preseason game against Cincinnati. Smith indicated that neither he nor the team was worried about Dent but it still isn't clear when he might return to action for the team. Dent is currently in the first phase of the NFL's concussion protocol.

"Akeem Dent is feeling better," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "He is still in the first phase of the concussion protocol. He definitely is not going to play, of course, this week. He is feeling a lot better. He was in meetings all day with us.

"He is ruled out for this week. We are not too concerned. We've got time for him [to return]. We want him feeling better."

Veteran Mike Peterson is working at middle linebacker for the Falcons in Dent's absence.

For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out The Falcoholic and SB Nation's NFL page.

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Falcons Injury Update: Akeem Dent Out For Concussion Protocol

The Falcons signed a replacement for fullback Bradie Ewing, lost for the year, while Akeem Dent will sit at least one game with a concussion.

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Akeem Dent Injury: Falcons Linebacker Out With Head Injury

Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent left the game in the second quarter after suffering a head injury and will not return to the game.

Atlanta can not afford to lose Dent who is now the starting middle linebacker after the departure of free agent Curtis Lofton to the Saints. The Falcons signed Lofa Tatupu to compete for the job with Dent but Tatupu suffered a pectoral injury before training camp and was released. Atlanta then signed Mike Peterson to add some depth at the position but desperately need Dent to nail down the starting job.

For more on this game Falcons fans should visit The Falcoholic and Ravens fans should check out Baltimore Beatdown. For more news and notes from around the NFL head over to SB Nation's NFL hub page.

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