Falcons Waive QB Tony Graziani
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) _ Tony Graziani kept his job with the Atlanta Falcons because of an injury. On Wednesday, he lost it because of two injuries.
The Falcons waived the fourth-year quarterback to bolster their depth at linebacker, where the losses of Chris Draft (hamstring) and Mark Simoneau (groin) left the team with only four healthy players at that position for Sunday’s game at Denver.
The Falcons signed third-year linebacker Chris Bordano, who was waived before the season by the Dallas Cowboys. The 6-foot-1, 241-pounder played two years with the New Orleans Saints after being drafted in the sixth round out of SMU in 1998.
Bordano started 18 games in his two seasons with New Orleans before being traded to the Cowboys in the offseason.
Graziani, a seventh-round draft choice out of Oregon in 1997, was on the verge of getting cut by the Falcons until Danny Kanell broke the ring finger on his throwing hand in the final preseason game. Kanell threw softly in practice Wednesday but will only be used in an emergency against the Broncos.
Rookie Doug Johnson moves up to be the No. 2 quarterback.
``It’s a difficult situation, but we have to have linebackers,″ coach Dan Reeves said. ``We just don’t have that many choices about what we can do. Letting Tony go was something I didn’t want to do. I’d like to keep him the whole year. I think he’s improved. But this is a decision we had to make.″
Graziani, who left camp Wednesday before the move was announced, started four games over the last three seasons. Overall, he completed 85 of 174 passes (49 percent) for 999 yards and two touchdowns, with eight interceptions.
Kanell won the No. 2 job in the preseason and Johnson, a free agent from Florida, played well enough to earn a spot as the third signal-caller. There wasn’t any room for Graziani, although Kanell’s injury forced Reeves to keep four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for Week 1.
Reeves will use Kanell only as a last resort on Sunday.
``We could put him in the shotgun and let him hand off,″ the coach said. ``If we go through two quarterbacks, we’re not going to be in very good shape anyway.″