FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve on Tuesday, taking a second 2017 Pro Bowler from the defense in less than a week.
The move with Jones comes after coach Dan Quinn on Friday announced safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.
Jones hurt his foot in Thursday night’s 18-12 opening loss at Philadelphia . Quinn said Tuesday that Jones will require surgery, but is expected to return this season.
“We are bummed for Deion, but we do expect to get him back at some point this season,” Quinn said in a statement.
“He represents all that we are looking for in a Falcon player, and while he will not be on the field for us right now, he will continue to have a presence in our building.”
The Falcons didn’t release further details of Jones’ injury or surgery.
Jones led the defense with nine tackles, one interception and two passes defensed against the Eagles. It was his seventh career interception.
He had 138 tackles, three interceptions and one sack in 2017 when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.
Jones must remain on IR for at least six weeks. He then would have two weeks to return to the roster. The earliest date he could return would be on Nov. 11 for Atlanta’s game at Cleveland.
Second-year linebacker Duke Riley may take Jones’ spot at middle linebacker in the starting lineup. Quinn said Friday a combination of Damontae Kazee and Jordan Richards will be the first options to replace Neal.
Jones, a second-round draft pick from LSU in 2016, and Neal have been keys to dramatic improvements on defense under Quinn.
In other roster moves on Tuesday, the Falcons promoted running back Brian Hill to the active roster and signed wide receiver Julian Williams to the practice squad. The team also waived defensive tackle Jacob Tuioti-Mariner from the practice squad.
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