FLOWERY BRANCH — Atlanta Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent has returned to practice after sustaining a concussion, and the team hopes he'll be fully cleared by Sunday.
Dent was injured in the Falcons' first preseason game against Baltimore. He missed the next contest and had not practiced until Saturday, when he took part in the non-contact drills.
Coach Mike Smith says Dent must clear one more step in the concussion protocol before he is allowed to take part fully in practice. Dent is expected to take over as the starting middle linebacker in place of Curtis Lofton, who signed with New Orleans.
Also Saturday, cornerback Darrin Walls couldn't finish practice with what appeared to be a minor quadriceps injury. Receiver Kevin Cone took a big hit late in the day but seemed OK.