Atlanta Claims Wiley Off Waivers
ATLANTA (AP) _ Desperate for help on the defensive line, the Atlanta Falcons claimed former Carolina Panthers defensive end Chuck Wiley off waivers on Monday.
Wiley, who was released Sunday, started 16 games last year as the Panthers’ right defensive end. He made 67 tackles but had no sacks.
The Falcons have major concerns with their pass rush. Starting right end Brady Smith has been sidelined with a pulled groin for two weeks. He missed practice again Monday and is doubtful for Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Smith’s injury forced Atlanta to start defensive tackles Ed Jasper and Travis Hall at left end in the last two preseason games. The picture was further clouded, though, when Jasper twisted his right knee and ankle in a 31-20 preseason win at Jacksonville last Thursday.
Patrick Kerney, still listed as the Falcons starter at left end, has played the last two games on the right side.
Wiley, who had no sacks in 1999, lost his job when Carolina signed Chuck Smith, second on the Falcons’ career sacks list, to a five-year, $21 million contract over six months ago.
Midway through his rookie training camp, Wiley won a starting job. He missed the entire 1998 season, though, after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon in a preseason game at Pittsburgh.
Wiley, a third-round draft choice out of Louisiana State in 1998, started three years for the Tigers and accumulated 19 sacks.
To make room for Wiley, Atlanta cut defensive end Chris White, claimed off waivers only four days ago from Jacksonville.
The Falcons also signed former Chicago Bears cornerback Terry Cousin, who started nine games on the right side last year and finished with 52 tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
Cousin replaces Michael Booker, who was cut Sunday.
Guard Evan Pilgrim was released Monday when the Falcons claimed Chris Banks off waivers from Denver. Banks started one of the 16 games he played in last year.