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Former University of Rhode Island linebacker and Providence native Matt Hansen signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday.

Hansen, who was an All-Stater at La Salle Academy, will report to Falcons camp on Friday to compete for a roster spot at training camp.

"I am so excited for this opportunity," Hansen said. "I couldn't be more excited to get down to Atlanta to compete at the professional level."

Hansen finished his career at URI as the school's all-time leading tackler with 401, surpassing Paul Picciotti's career mark, which was set back in 2001.

"I'm so happy Matt has opportunity to compete at the next level," URI head coach Joe Trainer said. "Matt is one of the best players I have ever coached and I know he will do great."

In 2010, Hansen led the Rams with 114 tackles, was third on the team in tackles for loss (8) and tied for third with two fumble recoveries. Last year marked the third consecutive season in which he had recorded over 100 tackles in a single season.

Hansen was selected as a New England All-Star and was named to the All-CAA Second Team.

He anchored a defensive unit, which ranked third in the league against the run, limiting opponents to just 126.4 yards per game on the ground. URI's defensive unit also gained a league-best 13 fumbles.

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