FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Falcons, reeling from the loss of highly touted rookie safety Keanu Neal, signed former All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson on Sunday.
The Falcons view Goldson as insurance at strong safety behind Kemal Ishmael, who’s set to fulfill the starting role while Neal, the 17th player in the draft, recovers from knee surgery.
Goldson, 31, is 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds. He’s a nine-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl player with stops in San Francisco (2007-12), Tampa Bay (2013-14) and Washington (2015). He was All-Pro in 2012.
Neal, who was injured against Miami on Thursday in the third exhibition game in Orlando, is set to have knee surgery Monday. He’s slated to miss three to four weeks and at least two regular-season games.
Rookie safety Keanu Neal
Goldson, who worked out for the Falcons on Saturday, started 15 games at free safety last season for Washington.
“He looked good,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He moved around well. He came in at a solid weight. He’s a big guy, who’s rangy. He can move around athletically for a guy that can play both strong and free. Obviously, in our situation, he’s more of a strong safety.”
Quinn has been impressed with Goldson’s play over the years. He was taken by San Francisco in the fourth round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Washington.
“I like his physicality,” Quinn said. “(Neal) is our guy and we told Dashon that as well. He’ll back here shortly. But he did a really good job today. … You can tell, even in a short interaction, what he stands for as a ball player.”