Out of all the injuries that struck the Atlanta Falcons yesterday, Joe Hawley appeared to have gotten the most severe one when Linval Joseph went crunching into his leg. When he went down and was carted off the field, Falcons fans justifiably feared the worst.
Unfortunately, it's looking like the worst outcome was the correct one:
Bad injury news for #Falcons coming… Hear starting C Joe Hawley likely done for the year with a knee injury. Explains their workouts today— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2014
Hawley had played well in three-plus games this season, appearing to finally lend stability to a center position left unsettled by Todd McClure's retirement. He wasn't great, but he was tenacious, technically sound and a major part of a thoroughly revamped line that was both run blocking and pass protecting better than anything we saw in 2013. Losing him for the season is a major, major blow to a team that really could not afford one.
Without him, the Falcons will likely turn to Peter Konz, who we all hope is drastically improved in 2014. The alternatives are rookie undrafted free agent James Stone or Harland Gunn, who is on the practice squad and may, in fact, be the best center on the team at the moment. The team also reportedly has worked out or will work out center Leroy Harris and guard Uche Nwaneri. We'll learn soon enough what's happening there, but expect Konz to get the first crack.
We wish Hawley a swift recovery.