Falcons lose veteran tackle Gandy for season with knee injury

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons starting offensive tackle Wayne Gandy will miss the rest of the season after the first major injury of his 14-year career.

The Falcons confirmed Tuesday that Gandy tore the anterior cruciate ligament on Atlanta's next-to-last offensive play of a 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He will need surgery, another blow to a team that lost four of its first five games and is still dealing with the stunning downfall of quarterback Michael Vick.

The 36-year-old Gandy was in his 14th NFL season and second with the Falcons. He tried to walk off the field on Sunday, but had to be taken off on a cart. The Falcons had suspected the worst, with coach Bobby Petrino saying after the game that it didn't look good.

"That would certainly be something that would hurt us," the first-year coach said. "He's been a very good leader for our football team."

Gandy has played in 212 out of 213 games during his long career, which began with the Rams and has included stints with Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Atlanta. He started all 16 games in 10 of the last 11 seasons.

Renardo Foster, an undrafted rookie who played for Petrino at Lousiville, will take over the crucial left tackle spot for Gandy.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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