Stephen Nicholas LB ATL 3 Months

Falcons released OLB Stephen Nicholas.

Nicholas, 31 in May, started 17 games -- including the playoffs -- at strong-side linebacker in 2012 but had been relegated to backup and special teams duties this past season. He notched just 35 tackles and one sack in 14 games. The Falcons save $2 million against the 2014 salary cap with the release of Nicholas. Joplo Bartu played mostly well as Atlanta's strong-side 'backer in 2013.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL 11 Months

Falcons OLB Stephen Nicholas underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason.

Nicholas is coming off a 2012 campaign that saw him post a career-high 97 tackles while playing in all 16 games. Sports hernia surgeries typically come with a 6-8 week timetable. Nicholas is expected back for the Falcons' minicamps in late June.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Oct 15 '12

Falcons OLB Stephen Nicholas (ankle) played only on special teams in Sunday's win over the Raiders.

Mike Peterson replaced Nicholas in base sets and Akeem Dent was the nickel 'backer. Nicholas now gets the Week 7 bye to recover. Through the first five weeks, Nicholas was averaging 7.8 tackles per game.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Oct 13 '12

Falcons OLB Stephen Nicholas was limited in Friday's practice and is listed as questionable for Week 6.

With Nicholas' status up in the air, it's expected that Mike Peterson takes his spot at SLB in the base defense. It's not safe to assume that either Peterson and MLB Akeem Dent play in the nickel packages, however. Coach Mike Smith suggested earlier in the week that the Falcons may fill his role with a hybrid defensive end. "We've got guys that have played his position, a number of guys that have cross trained to play the same position and the dime," Smith said when asked about Nicholas' spot in the subpackages.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Oct 08 '12

Falcons OLB Stephen Nicholas suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's win over the Redskins, and will be re-evaluated mid-week.

The planned re-evaluation suggests Nicholas has a shot at suiting up against the Raiders. A full-time starter this season, Nicholas has 39 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception through five games.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Sep 11 '12

The Falcons used their base defense on just 11 plays in the Week 1 win over the Chiefs.

Starting MLB Akeem Dent failed to record a single tackle. The Falcons rolled with their sub-package of two linebackers and three corners the majority of the game, leaving Stephen Nicholas and Sean Weatherspoon to rack up the stats. Nicholas piled up 12 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups. There's plenty of IDP upside here.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Jan 02 '12

The Falcons consider SLB Stephen Nicholas (knee) "doubtful" to play in the Wild Card round against the Giants.

Nicholas' absence will be felt on run defense, as practice squad-type Robert James is a significant downgrade. Nicholas' injury may be a slight tear of a knee ligament or a severe sprain. He's made just one appearance since Week 12.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Dec 15 '11

Falcons LB Stephen Nichols exited Thursday's game in the third quarter with a knee injury.

Nichols had just returned to the lineup after missing last week's game with a shoulder injury. He's questionable to return, but there's no reason to risk it in a 41-0 laugher.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Dec 11 '11

Falcons declared LB Stephen Nicholas, CB Brent Grimes, QB John Parker Wilson, CB Kelvin Hayden, C Brett Romberg, OL Kirk Chambers, and DE Cliff Matthews inactive for Week 14 against the Panthers.

Veteran Mike Peterson will replace Nicholas, who injured his shoulder in last week's game. Dominique Franks will fill in for Grimes, which is positive news for the Panthers' aerial attack. Julio Jones (hamstring) and Michael Turner (groin) are active and playing without restrictions.

Stephen Nicholas LB ATL Nov 28 '11

Falcons SLB Stephen Nicholas left Sunday's win over the Vikings in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.

The Falcons are plenty deep at linebacker after Nicholas beat out Mike Peterson for the job in the preseason. The severity of Nicholas' injury is unknown.