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Report: Paul Worrilow heading to Detroit Lions in free agency

The veteran gave the Falcons three years as a starter, and now he’ll move on.

NFL: NFC Championship-Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

We now know two Falcons are likely headed out of town when free agency officially opens tomorrow at 4 p.m. The first is Patrick DiMarco, and the second is Paul Worrilow, who will sign a one year pact with the Detroit Lions.

The fanbase’s opinions of Paul Worrilow, always a bit divided, swung pretty mightily between his first season and 2016. Initially, it was incredibly easy to cheer for the UDFA linebacker with the great story and the obvious locker room leadership, and he piled up a combined 127 tackles with two sacks in his rookie season. He had his moments (and gobs of tackles) in his next two years, as well, but I had always thought Worrilow was best as a part-time starter in pass rushing situations or on obvious run downs, and some of his limitations in coverage became apparent over time.

For all that, Worrilow got grief that really should have been directed toward the team, which spent three seasons either not trying to shore up the linebacker position or doing so ineptly. Worrilow played so much from 2013-2015 because the team felt he was their best option, and he played as hard as anybody on the field because like everyone else on those Falcons teams (even the bad ones), he was a professional. The Falcons added Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell last year and Worrilow correspondingly played much less, which is why he’s finding himself in a position where he’s having to take a one year deal.

In Detroit, at least, Worrilow will have a crack at a starting job in a subpar linebackers corps, and plenty of motivation to prove his doubters wrong. We’ll see if he can do so. Either way, we wish him well.