Falcons' Akeem Dent banged up

The Atlanta Falcons have been planning to go with second-year pro Akeem Dent as their starting middle linebacker.

At least in the short term, they might want to come up with a Plan B.

Dent was injured in Thursday night’s preseason game with Baltimore. Dent suffered an apparent head injury while making a tackle with 9:38 left in the second quarter as he appeared to have a helmet-to-helmet collision with the ball carrier. There was no immediate word as to the extent of the injury, but members of the Atlanta television crew said they were told Dent was knocked unconscious. He didn’t stay down long. He sat up and began moving around before being taken off the field.

The Falcons lost Curtis Lofton, the starting middle linebacker the past four seasons in free agency. They brought in veteran Lofa Tatupu to compete with Dent, but Tatupu was released after suffering a pectoral injury just before the start of training camp. The Falcons quickly went out and re-signed Mike Peterson, who can play all three linebacker positions.

Peterson is a fine substitute if Dent’s injury turns out to be minor. But if Dent’s injury is going to linger into the regular season, the Falcons might have to explore other options at middle linebacker.