Lofa Tatupu was a Pro Bowl player his first three seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks including an All-Pro berth in 2007. Tatupu’s career appeared to be over at 29 when the phone didn’t ring after he was released by the Seahawks nearly a year ago.
“At a certain point, I just stopped working out,’’ Tatupu told Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe. ‘‘I thought it was over. I was really ready to send those [retirement] papers in.’’
Tatupu had come to a mutual agreement with the Seahawks on his release after he refused to take a paycut.
Six seasons and 84 starts at middle linebacker after being a second-round pick in 2005, Tatupu was an unrestricted free agent.
He sat out the 2011 season, which got people wondering, including Patriots fans who dreamed of another Tatupu suiting up in Foxborough (at 6 feet, Lofa is a bit small for New England’s scheme).
Tatupu finally signed with the Falcons in March. Now, he is battling with 2011 third-round pick Akeem Dent for the starting spot vacated by free agent Curtis Lofton.
“I’m excited about the whole process and just being back playing ball again,’’ Tatupu said. “You’ve got to knock a little rust off, but for the most part it’s second nature, especially as a middle linebacker. You’re supposed to know what everybody is doing. You’re supposed to be the field general. From that standpoint, I really wasn’t taken aback by it. I just come in and do what I do.’’