Posted: 11:23 am Sunday, August 17th, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
HOUSTON — Falcons left tackle Sam Baker has a torn right patellar tendon and will be for the season, the Falcons announced Sunday.
“Following his injury in the game, Sam underwent a number of tests and it was determined that he had suffered a torn patellar tendon and will miss the rest of the season,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said in a statement released by the team. “Sam had worked extremely hard to get back on the field after missing most of last season, and he was having a good camp. I know he is disappointed, but I also know he is a very resilient football player and will do whatever he can to bounce back.”
Baker, who was trying to come back from left knee surgery, was taken from the field via cart with 9:38 left in the second quarter of an exhibition game against the Houston Texans on Saturday.
Baker, who’s battled injuries since being taken in the first round of the 2008 draft, was emotional as he took off his helmet and was tended to by the trainers. It was announced as a “knee” injury and that he would not return to the game.
Teammates took off their helmets and watched intensely as the team doctor and athletic trainers tended to Baker. After a few minutes and a stop of play, Baker tentatively rose to his feet and didn’t put his full weight on his right leg as he got on the cart.
He received as applause from the Houston crowd as he was taken off the field.
Since being drafted, Baker has played all 16 games just twice — in 2010 and 2012. The Falcons went 13-3 both of those seasons.
In 2012, when Baker started every game for the Falcons at left tackle, quarterback Matt Ryan set five franchise passing records and the team fell one play short of making its way to the Super Bowl.
In 2013, when Baker played just four games before succumbing to knee surgery, Ryan was sacked 44 times, was pressured an NFL-high 203 times and the Falcons finished 4-12, tied for worst record in the NFC.
He was adjusting to his third offensive line coach. The Falcons had Paul Boudreau from 2008-2010. He was replaced by Pat Hill and Paul Dunn. After Hill and Dunn were fired over the offseason, the Falcons hired Mike Tice to coach the offensive line.
Some still contended that Baker would eventually make way for Matthews at left tackle and that he’ll end his career at right tackle.
The Falcons gave Baker a six-year, $41 million contract with $14.3 million guaranteed on March 12, 2013.