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Friday, March 23, 2007

Toniu Fonoti signed by Atlanta Falcons

Former Miami Dolphin guard has signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons sign offensive lineman

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/15/07

Toniu Fonoti, a massive journeyman offensive linemen, was signed by the Falcons Wednesday.

Fonoti, a former second-round pick by San Diego in 2002 out of Nebraska, fits the mold of massive lineman Falcons new head coach Bobby Petrino covets. However, Fonoti's career has been marred by injury and drastic weight fluctuations.

Fonoti is listed at 6-foot-4, 350 pounds and has been near 400 pounds during his career. He will compete for the starting left guard spot, which opened when the Falcons released Matt Lehr.

Fonoti showed promise early in his career as a run blocker. He started 14 of 16 games as a rookie. He missed the following season with a hand injury then started all 16 games for the Chargers in 2004.

In 2005, he missed action because of hand and groin injuries. He was traded to Minnesota for a seventh-round pick in Oct. 2005. He was reportedly 390 pounds at the time of the trade and went on to play three games for the Vikings.

Last March, Fonoti was signed by Oakland, but released. He was later signed and released by Tampa Bay before signing with Miami last November and played in six games.

On Wednesday, the Falcons also signed wide receiver Derrick Hamilton, a former standout at Clemson as an all-American kickoff and punt returner. Hamilton, a third-round pick by San Francisco, has never caught a pass in the NFL.

His career has been stymied by injury.

Hamilton missed all of 2005 with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and spent the season on the physically unable to perform list. He was waived by the 49ers in August of 2006 after reaching an injury settlement with the team after suffering a hamstring injury.

— Staff writer Steve Wyche contributed to this report.

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