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Sean Weatherspoon returns to the Atlanta Falcons on a one-year deal

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The former first round pick will look to rejuvenate his career at the place, where it all began in 2010.

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Second chances with the same team are hard to come by in the NFL. At this time last year, Atlanta decided not to re-sign Sean Weatherspoon. Despite Dan Quinn speaking highly of him, they abruptly allowed the once-stout outside linebacker to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. It was a disappointing exit for both sides. He signed a one-year "prove it deal" to play for a great team, while Justin Durant was signed to replace him and provide stability.

One year later, a true fan favorite is back in Atlanta. Ian Rapoport had the news first.

Weatherspoon is looking to revitalize his career following three disappointing injury-plagued seasons. He did play fourteen games last season, but was reduced to backup duties after pulling his hamstring at the start of training camp. Kevin Minter took over the reins at inside linebacker. Weatherspoon ended up playing only 159 snaps. Based on his injury history, it's extremely difficult to depend on him as a starter.

The Falcons desperately needed to sign at least one linebacker. Durant was released last month, while Nate Stupar and Philip Wheeler may not be re-signed. Weatherspoon's last productive season came in 2011. It was the only season that he played 16 games, along with making a plethora of big plays. His performance slightly dipped in 2012, before his downfall began in 2013. This is an intriguing addition based on his range and ability to play all three downs when healthy. With minimal risk, it was a no-brainer for the Falcons to sign him. Weatherspoon spoke publicly about his appreciation for Atlanta and wanting to return there. At 28 years old, it's now or never for the ultra-talented linebacker.

How will Sean Weatherspoon impact the Falcons?

It remains unclear who the front office will sign in the upcoming days. They have been linked with Jerrell Freeman and met with James Laurinaitis last Monday. Both linebackers would be signed as immediate starters. Drafting a linebacker in the first round is a possibility as well. Weatherspoon can't be placed as a starter by default. Quinn mentioned that Durant was released primarily for health reasons. Why would they replace him with an even bigger injury risk at weakside linebacker?

Weatherspoon can still play an important role. Arizona occasionally used him in their nickel sets. That could be a possibility, besides being their top backup. His strong locker room presence can't be discounted either. William Moore and Paul Soliai are going to be missed as leaders. Besides Jonathan Babineaux, there aren't any long-time Falcons or true leaders on their rebuilding defense. Thomas Dimitroff spoke adamantly about Weatherspoon's leadership qualities.

Where will he be on the depth chart?

As mentioned above, it's hard to thrust Weatherspoon into a starting role. The Falcons aren't finished making moves in free agency and will draft at least one linebacker. He is most comfortable playing at weakside linebacker. After struggling with injuries and adjusting to a 3-4 scheme in Arizona, Weatherspoon will relish moving back into a 4-3 scheme. They will mostly likely utilize him as a top backup. Nothing can be ruled out, as there aren't many starting caliber linebackers left and several other positions need to be addressed.