The Atlanta Falcons signed linebacker Mike Peterson on Tuesday as an unrestricted free agent from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Peterson, 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, is a 10-year NFL veteran who has spent time with the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2002) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-2008). For five seasons, Peterson was coached by Falcons coach Mike Smith who served as the Jaguars Defensive Coordinator from 2003-2007. In 135 career games with 127 starts, Peterson has totaled 1,365 tackles (792 solo), 19.5 sacks, 15 interceptions, 40 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and seven fumbles recoveries. He also scored his only NFL touchdown on a 26-yard interception return against the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. Last season, Peterson led the Jaguars with 139 tackles, which marked his eighth season with 100-plus stops.
"Mike is a very sound, versatile linebacker who has gained plenty of experience and knowledge over his 10-year career," said Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff. "He is the type of player who will lead the team on the field and in the locker room. We are excited to have him represent the Falcons this season."
Peterson collected 837 tackles in his Jaguars career, which ranks second in team history behind safety Donovin Darius (858). He also tallied double-digit tackles in 73 career games and 15-plus tackles in 23 games. In 2005, Peterson produced career-best numbers with 190 tackles, six sacks and three interceptions. His tackle total that season ranked second among AFC linebackers and fourth among NFL linebackers.
"I had the pleasure of coaching Mike for five seasons in Jacksonville," said Smith. "He is a passionate player who brings a great deal of intensity to the game."