Falcons S Keanu Neal (ACL) lost for season

Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl strong safety Keanu Neal will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Thursday's season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced.

Neal twice departed the game because of left knee issues. He didn't return after the second injury occurred in the third quarter.

The tear was detected during an MRI exam on Friday.

Coach Dan Quinn said he didn't think Neal's injury was serious after Thursday's contest. But he and the Atlanta players were in a somber mood Friday after learning of the seriousness of the injury.

"That one hurts for us because he certainly exemplifies not only our style as a ballplayer but as a teammate, too," Quinn said in a press conference. "We're bummed for him, and that's certainly tough for us today."

12 PHOTOS
NFL Week 1: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
See Gallery
NFL Week 1: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi (26) converts the touchdown for an extra two points during the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 06, 2018 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Mike Wallace #14 of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts to catch the ball as he is defended by Robert Alford #23 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement (30) during the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 06, 2018 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons is unable to make a reception as he is defended by Jalen Mills #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jay Ajayi #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts to handle the ball during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jordan Hicks #58 and Chris Long #56 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate after sacking Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons (not pictured) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Michael Bennett #77 of the Philadelphia Eagles works against Jake Matthews #70 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons is unable to catch a pass during the second half as he is defended by Jalen Mills #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jay Ajayi #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Cornerback Desmond Trufant can't imagine looking over to the center of the field and not seeing Neal when the Falcons play the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.

"Obviously tough," Trufant said. "I feel for him. That's my brother. I mean, the crazy part about it is, I don't know how many plays he did on it. ... You can't replace a guy like that. We just have to pray for him and pick up the slack."

Second-year pro Damontae Kazee replaced Neal and figures to move into the starting lineup. Kazee opened eyes with a strong preseason and also delivered a big play in Thursday's game when his hit on Philadelphia tight end Dallas Goedert dislodged the ball and led to an interception by Deion Jones.

"We love Kazee's style," Quinn said. .".. Kazee has really improved. I think you guys have seen that through the offseason. He'll be ready for an extended (look), for sure."

Kazee, a product of San Diego State, was a 2017 fifth-round pick. Atlanta also recently acquired safety Jordan Richards from the New England Patriots.

Quinn also said the team will consider veteran Eric Reid, the free agent who has been bypassed by other teams partly due to his pattern for taking a knee during the national anthem. Reid formerly played for the San Francisco 49ers and has publicly backed Colin Kaepernick's stand against social injustice.

"We have talked about that," Quinn said about Reid. "We'd like to go in-house first. The reason that is is because of the addition of Jordan and the emergence of Kazee. We'll go down that road first. ... When you put a player down for the year on IR, there'll be some opportunities that we could look at as well. From a starting standpoint, we'll look at in-house first."

The 23-year-old Neal had one interception, two fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles last year during his second NFL season.

--Field Level Media

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.