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Falcons CB not cleared to play against Bucs

GEORGE HENRY The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 11:49 PM

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. Atlanta coach Mike Smith doesn't know if Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson will be cleared to return to practice this week.

Robinson and Eagles receiver DeShaun Jackson both sustained concussions and left the game following a helmet-to-helmet hit Robinson made on a pass attempt in the Falcons' Oct. 17 loss at Philadelphia.

Smith indicated that Robinson has passed two early requirements mandated by the NFL for players returning from concussions - earning a good score on a computerized "impact test" and receiving a positive report from an independent neurosurgeon.

"That's really just the first step to getting back," Smith said Monday. "Then they have to go through practices where they do not have contact, and they (can) ramp it up as the week goes on.

The Falcons (5-2), who are coming off their bye week, host Tampa Bay (5-2) on Sunday. Atlanta's next practice is Wednesday.

Robinson is appealing the $50,000 fine he received from the NFL for inadvertently knocking out Jackson.

"Granted, Dunta's case was kind of a bang-bang play, but nevertheless under the rules it is illegal," Ray Anderson, the league's executive vice president of football operations, told the NFL Network two weeks ago. "A helmet, shoulder or forearm that ends up having helmet contact as a result is illegal under the rules, so we have to enforce it."

Christopher Owens started for Robinson in Atlanta's Oct. 24 win over Cincinnati. Before the Bengals game, Robinson was listed as questionable with head and knee injuries.

The Falcons signed Robinson, who spent his first six seasons with Houston, as a free agent in March. His six-year contract includes approximately $22.5 million guaranteed.

In six games with Atlanta, Robinson has 19 solo tackles, three passes defended and no interceptions. A strained hamstring sidelined him for most of training camp and all of preseason.

Rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, the first-round draft pick who has been out since injuring a knee in an Oct. 10 win at Cleveland, did not practice Monday.

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