Falcons looking for line help

Having bolstered their defense with the additions of end John Abraham and safeties Lawyer Milloy and Chris Crocker, the Atlanta Falcons may soon turn their attention to the offensive side of the ball, and to their most desperate need there, a new starting left tackle.

The Falcons lost Kevin Shaffer, the starter the past two seasons, to the Cleveland Browns as an unrestricted free agent when his price tag became exorbitant. They've spent the three weeks since then examining all of their alternatives and weighing the options available to them, including visits by veterans Brad Hopkins, Todd Steussie and Torrin Tucker.

But now Hopkins, the 13-year veteran who played his entire career with the Tennessee Titans before he was released last month for salary cap considerations, is hinting at retirement. Tucker on Thursday evening signed a restricted free agent offer sheet with Tampa Bay. And there are no indications that the Falcons have any real interest in adding Steussie, who is 35 and clearly in decline.