Veteran end expected to play Friday

Originally Published: September 2, 2004
ESPN.com news services

Atlanta Falcons: Weakened by injuries along their defensive front, the Falcons on Thursday signed veteran free agent end Joe Tafoya, released twice in the past two weeks. There is a good chance that Tafoya, 26, will see action in Friday night's preseason finale at Washington.

A fourth-year veteran, Tafoya went to training camp with Chicago, was waived by the Bears and claimed by Arizona, which released him Tuesday. The Falcons arrived at camp with very little depth at end and the situation worsened when top backup Will Overstreet suffered a season-ending shoulder injury for the third straight year.

The Falcons on Wednesday reached an injury settlement with Overstreet, a third-round pick in 2002 who might be forced to retire.

Tafoya has appeared in 35 regular-season games and recorded 19 tackles and one-half sack, along with 28 special teams tackles. To make room for Tafoya, the Falcons released defensive end Raymond House, a first-year player who was on the Atlanta practice squad in 2003.

The Falcons also re-signed cornerback Brandon Williams, who they had released earlier this week. They also released three-year veteran fullback George Layne.
-- Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com senior writer

Tennessee Titans: Another team shy of ambulatory bodies at defensive end is the Titans, who have been awarded rookie defensive end Nathaniel Adibi off waivers. Adibi was waived by the Steelers on Tuesday after the fifth-round draft choice struggled trying to make the transition to linebacker.

The former Virginia Tech player appeared in 48 games for the Hokies and started 44, finishing his college career with 20 sacks. In the Pittsburgh 3-4 alignment, though, he was projected as a linebacker, while the Titans will use his strictly at end. With the shortage of ends in Tennessee, he could make the regular-season roster and will likely be on the practice squad at worst.

"What we are going to do is bring him in and let him do what he does best, which is to rush the quarterback," Titans general manager Floyd Reese said.

Although the Titans invested heavily on defensive linemen in the draft, they have lost rookie ends Travis LaBoy (concussion) and Bo Schobel (broken foot) to injuries.
-- L.P.

Chicago Bears: The Bears have augmented their injury-depleted secondary by claiming cornerbacks Vontez Duff and Blue Adams off waivers. To make room for them, wide receiver Jamin Elliott and corner Eric Kelly were released.

A second-year veteran, Adams was released this week by Jacksonville, after having appeared in eight games for the Jaguars in 2003. Duff was the Houston Texans' sixth-round pick in this year's draft but was released on Monday after a poor training camp.
-- L.P.

Cincinnati Bengals: Wide receiver Patrick Johnson was waived with an injury settlement and center Thatcher Szalay was placed on injured reserve.

Johnson, a seventh-year player who signed with the Bengals in March as an unrestricted free agent, broke his hand in Saturday night's preseason game at Atlanta.

Szalay, a second-year player from Montana, injured his wrist in training camp. He was waived Wednesday and reverted to the Bengals injured-reserve list when he was not claimed by another team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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