FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) The Atlanta Falcons have released center Joe Hawley, who started 23 of his 57 games in five seasons with the team.

Hawley, slowed by his recovery from surgery on his right knee, played a backup role in Atlanta's final preseason game against Baltimore.

The Falcons added center Gino Gradkowski, who has 16 starts over three years with the Ravens, off waivers.

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The team signed eight players, including quarterback Matt Simms, to its practice squad. Linebacker Stansly Maponga, Atlanta's fifth-round pick in 2013, and 2014 seventh-round pick Tyler Starr also were signed to the practice squad after being waived on Saturday.

Also signed to the practice squad: linebacker Derek Akunne, offensive tackle Pierce Burton, tight end Marcel Jensen, cornerback Akeem King and nose tackle Joey Mbu.

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