The Atlanta Falcons' defense absorbed a major hit.

Starting lniebacker Sean Weatherspoon ruptured his Achilles tendon and has been declared out for the season. He''ll undergo surgery soon. Weathersppon was working with the Falcons' medical staff when he got hurt, the team announced.

“During Sean’s run today with our medical staff, he suffered an injury,” head coach Mike Smith said. “We sent Sean to the doctor for some additional testing and evaluation and unfortunately the results showed that he ruptured his Achilles tendon. Sean had been working extremely hard to get back on the field, but regrettably he will miss the entire 2014 season. He will have a procedure done in the near future and we expect him to make a full recovery.”

Weatherspoon, 26, was sidelined for all but seven games last season with a Lisfranc foot sprain.

A 2010 first-round draft pick, Weatherspoon has registered 290 career tackles.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun