Falcons activate Dante Fowler, place Steven Means on IR

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by Falcons outside linebacker Dante Fowler (6) as he fumbles the ball during the first half  Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times)

Credit: TNS

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by Falcons outside linebacker Dante Fowler (6) as he fumbles the ball during the first half Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times)

Credit: TNS

The Falcons activated outside linebacker Dante Fowler to the 53-man roster Saturday.

Fowler had been on the injured-reserve list since Oct. 22 after he injured his left knee against the Jets in London on Oct. 10.

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In a corresponding move, the Falcons placed outside linebacker Steven Means on the IR. Means sustained a knee injury Sunday in the Falcons’ 27-25 victory against the Saints.

Also Saturday, Falcons tight end Lee Smith (back) and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (concussion) were ruled of Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, which begins at 1 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Earlier in the week, the Falcons ruled cornerback Kendall Sheffield (hamstring) out for the game Sunday.

“I don’t think it’s long-term,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said of Sheffield’s injury.

After Fowler missed the past three games, his 21-day period to return from short-term injured reserve began Monday. Coach Arthur Smith said Friday that the Falcons were “cautious” with Fowler this week, but the team will need Fowler to boost a pass rush for a team that ranks last in the NFL in sacks, with 11, and is on the hot seat for Sunday’s game.