Neal missed almost the entirety of the 2018 season as he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 against the Eagles. The 2016 first-round pick may not be ready for Organized Team Activities in the spring, but he's expected to be good to go for training camp. The 23-year-old has started all 31 games he's appeared in with the Falcons and was a Pro Bowl replacement in 2017 after compiling 116 combined tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception. The team has until May 3 to provide Neal with official notice they are exercising the option.
Neal (knee) has undergone successful ACL surgery Tuesday, per his personal Twitter handle.
Neal confirmed that the procedure he underwent to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee went well. The typical recovery timetable for an ACL tear is between six and eight months, so Atlanta can hope for Neal to return to health in time to participate in OTAs next offseason. Damontae Kazee will serve as the Falcons' starting strong safety for the remainder of the season.
Neal was placed on injured reserve Saturday, per the league's official transaction log.
The move was expected since Neal's season ended after he tore his ACL in the opener against Philadelphia. Neal's absence will leave a tough void to fill since he posted back-to-back, 100-plus-tackle seasons to start his NFL career. Damontae Kazee will be the starting strong safety.
Neal was diagnosed with a torn ACL on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Neal will miss the rest of the season after suffering the non-contact knee injury during Thursday's season-opening loss to Philadelphia. Damontae Kazee may prove to be a capable replacement at strong safety, but this is undoubtedly a major blow to the Atlanta secondary. Kazee becomes an immediate IDP option given that Neal averaged 7.4 tackles per game over the past two seasons.
Neal aggravated a left knee injury suffered during the second quarter and was forced out of the game shortly after halftime of Atlanta's season opener against Philadelphia on Thursday.
Neal's left knee appeared to buckle while he was changing directions in pass coverage, resulting in the third-year safety being deemed inactive for the remainder of the ballgame. Preseason standout Damontae Kazee was the next man up at strong safety for the Falcons following Neal's exit from the contest.
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