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Atlanta Falcons give workout to veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson
The former Redskin starter would embrace backup role
Atlanta Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme (83) runs against Washington Redskins free safety Dashon Goldson (38) during the first half on Sunday, Oct. 11 in Atlanta. - photo by BRYNN ANDERSON

ATLANTA  — The Atlanta Falcons gave a workout to veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson on Saturday and are in talks with the former Redskins starter about a backup role.

The Falcons will be without rookie starting strong safety Keanu Neal, the first-round pick, for at least the first two regular-season games with a right knee injury. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Monday.

Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that backup Kemal Ishmael would fill in for Neal as the starting strong safety even if the team signs Goldson, 31. General manager Thomas Dimitroff said Goldson’s agent said the safety also has interest from other teams.

“We’ve been very clear about what we’re looking for,” Dimitroff said of Goldson’s projected role as a backup. “He knows what his role is going to be for us and that’s very important and he has to weigh that out with what he’s hearing from other organizations.

“I don’t think it has to do at all with money. I think it has to do more with his opportunity (to start).”

Goldson had 110 tackles in 15 starts with the Redskins in 2015. He spent his first six seasons with San Francisco and played with Tampa Bay in 2013-14.

Ishmael has missed the last two preseason games with a shoulder injury but could be back for Thursday night’s final preseason game against Jacksonville.

Quinn said he expects Ishmael to have limited participation in Sunday’s practice “and more going through the week. We’re encouraged about that.”

The Falcons cut nine players, including backup quarterback Sean Renfree, to reach the roster limit of 75 players.

The Falcons also released safety Sergio Brown and waived offensive lineman Michael Huey, running back Gus Johnson, wide receiver Jordan Leslie, tight end Arthur Lynch, linebacker Ivan McLennan, cornerback Ryan White, and defensive lineman Brandon Williams.

Renfree, a seventh-round pick in 2014, played in two games last season. Veteran Matt Schaub was signed in the offseason as quarterback Matt Ryan’s backup.

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