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Anderson joins Atlanta defensive line as free agent signing

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran free agent Tim Anderson on Thursday in an attempt to bolster a defensive tackle ranks thinned by the abrupt release of starter Grady Jackson last week and injuries to other players at the position.

Anderson, a fourth-year veteran, was released by the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 20 in a move considered surprising by many league observers. The former Ohio State star auditioned for several clubs since his release and was viewed as one of the few viable defensive tackles available in the free agent ranks.

Anderson, 26, was the Bills' third-round choice in the 2004 draft. Known as a ruggled, blue-collar player who's solid against the run, Anderson appeared in 39 games, including 17 starts, in his three seasons with the Bills, and was part of the tackle rotation at the outset of the 2007 campaign.

His best season was in 2005, when he started 12 games and registered 42 tackles. For his career, Anderson has 76 tackles, one sack and five passes defensed.

While he has played both tackle spots, Anderson probably is best suited to nose tackle, and the Falcons have a need at that position.

Despite starting 22 of 23 games since signing with Atlanta as a free agent in 2006, Jackson was released during the Falcons' bye last week because he was not playing his role in the team's 4-3 scheme the way it was designed for him. Jackson signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday.

Promising rookie Trey Lewis, a sixth-round draft choice, is slated to replace Jackson in the starring lineup. But his backup, Montavious Stanley, suffered a knee injury on Wednesday in practice and could be sidelined for a while. Two other tackles, starter Rod Coleman and key backup Jonathan Babineaux, are both playing at less than 100 percent.

To create a roster spot for Anderson, the Falcons waived cornerback Brent Grimes, who had been elevated from the practice squad earlier this week.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.