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Falcons release defensive back, sign another from practice squad before Week 7 game with Bucs

Jaylinn Hawkins had appeared in all six of the Falcons games so far this season. Micah Abernathy will take his spot on the 53-man roster. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons released safety Jaylinn Hawkins from their 53-man roster, the team announced Wednesday.

Safety Micah Abernathy was signed from the Falcons' practice squad as a corresponding move.

Hawkins played in all six games this season, mainly on the special teams. Richie Grant and Jessie Bates III have been the Falcons' starting safeties so far in 2023.

Hawkins took 29 (8%) defensive snaps and 125 (81%) on special teams. He recorded three tackles.

The Falcons drafted Hawkins with a fourth-round pick in 2020 out of California. He appeared in 48 games since then for Atlanta, starting 22.

Hawkins' biggest season for the Falcons came in 2022, when he started 16 games and made a career-high 84 tackles. During the Falcons' win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, Hawkins recovered a fumble in the end zone to score a touchdown. He forced another fumble and broke up six passes that year, too.

Hawkins is 26 years old and originally from Buena Park, California.

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Abernathy, meanwhile, joined the Falcons organization last December. He has spent 2023 on the practice squad but was a standard elevation this past Sunday in Atlanta's Week 6 loss to the Washington Commanders. Abernathy played 18 (75%) of the Falcons' special-teams snaps and recorded a tackle.

Before he came to Atlanta, Abernathy was with the Green Bay Packers, where he was also a practice-squad member for the most part. He appeared in two games last season, taking one (1%) defensive and 13 (75%) special-teams snaps, with no stats to account for.

Abernathy was an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee in 2019. He's 26 and an Atlanta native.

In addition to those moves on the active roster, the Falcons signed running back Jacob Saylors and safety Arnold Tarpley III to the practice squad. The New York Giants had signed offensive lineman Joshua Miles on Tuesday to open up the second spot.

The Falcons travel to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday (1 p.m., FOX) for a Week 7 divisional matchup.

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