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Falcons lose LB Williams to torn pectoral muscle

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker
Demorrio Williams underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle that
could keep the three-year veteran sidelined as long as five months.

Demorrio Williams Williams

Falcons general manager Rich McKay said Sunday that Williams,
slated to enter his third season as the weakside starter, was
injured lifting weights last week.

A similar injury ended Patrick Kerney's 2006 season. Kerney, who
signed last month with Seattle, was injured in a Week 10 loss to
Cleveland.

McKay and first-year coach Bobby Petrino confirmed Williams'
injury means rookie Stephen Nicholas, a fourth-round draft pick
from South Florida, will begin the mandatory three-day mini-camp
May 11 working with the No. 1 defense.

According to McKay, the Falcons have no plans to move five-time
Pro Bowl selection Keith Brooking from middle linebacker. Brooking
began the last two seasons as the weakside starter, but injuries to
Ed Hartwell, whom Atlanta released last month, moved him back
inside.

The Falcons open the 2007 season on Sept. 9 at Minnesota.