Moore feels for Weatherspoon

Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore ignored the whispers while walking into the locker room from practice Tuesday; whispers concerning the status of injured teammate Sean Weatherspoon.

Moore figured something had happened to Weatherspoon as the linebacker went through rehabilitation exercises with the training staff. But Moore heard a few folks say his good friend and former college teammate would be fine.

Moore never anticipated Weatherspoon would be lost for the season with an Achilles tear suffered while going through rehab for a knee injury. Moore said he discovered the severity of Weatherspoon's injury through the media.

"It really hurt me when I got the news," Moore told ESPN.com."That guy, he worked so hard to try to come back. And I know all about it. Trust me. My rookie season was the worst season ever. I was so frustrated going through all those injuries and wanting to prove everybody wrong by trying to come back and stay healthy.

"He didn't even get the opportunity to come back. And I know Spoon. He's always passionate, on and off the field."

Moore hadn't talked to Weatherspoon personally as of Wednesday afternoon, but he left a text message reading, "I know your phone is overloaded so get to me when you get time, bro." Weatherspoon now faces six to eight months of rehab after missing significant time last season with a Lisfranc foot sprain and the knee injury.

"I know Spoon. He's going to overcome it regardless," Moore said. "It's just really sucks for a guy like that. It really sucks."

Moore related his struggles overcoming knee and hamstring injuries as a rookie to Weatherspoon's plight.

"You want to get right so bad that you end up pulling something else trying to go so hard," Moore said. "I really don't know what happened with Spoon, but that's just tough."

Weatherspoon is sure to be the same type of inspirational leader he was while sitting out a portion of last season. Yet the Falcons would rather him be that vocal leader from the huddle rather than the sideline.

"I've played over nine years with the guy; I know him and he's always been my leader, from Missouri all the way to here," Moore said. "He gets me up every time, which I really don't need many people to get me up. But he's that extra fire. And I know that I play at a different level when he's on the field.

"Now, we have to take leadership to a different route because everybody's not Spoon. It's kinda worse that we have, I'm not going to say inexperienced linebackers, but we have younger 'backers. I could see if we have three or four guys who have been in the league for over six, seven, eight years. But we have guys who are just getting into the league or that are in the second year or third year or whatever. Spoon was the guy that led those guys. And they would tell you that. He was their voice. It's going to be tough not having him around."

Moore will have to assume more of a leadership role without Weatherspoon on the field.

"No doubt about it, I have to," Moore said. "But not because I have to, but because I want to. I've always just liked to have my play speak for me. Now, I want to take that leadership role because sometimes, that's what the guys need.

"I love the game so much, and it's time to let it be heard. I'm not Spoon. I can't do the things that he did. I'm just going to tell it how it is."