The Falcons announced earlier this afternoon that reserve lineman Joe Hawley would be suspended for the next four games due to a violation of the NFL’s policy against the use of performance enhancers. Players can choose to appeal their suspensions and continue to play until a second ruling is made, however Hawley will elect not to do so and his suspension will begin immediately. He will not be eligible to return to the team until December 17 after their Week 15 matchup against the New York Giants.
Hawley suited up briefly this past Sunday for a single snap at center after Todd McClure left the game with a lower leg injury. Hawley provides depth at both center and guard on gameday. The team may opt to add another center to the roster with the now available roster spot formerly held by Hawley, to shore up depth.
His agent, Kevin Omell, released a statement via the NFLPA:
“In September, Joe Hawley made a mistake by taking an Adderall pill. He did not file the paperwork to apply for an exemption for this medication, and now understands that the NFL/NFLPA drug policies have strict rules.
He is sincerely sorry to his teammates, coaches and Falcons fans for the consequences of this oversight. Joe will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the team continue the success they’ve achieved thus far this season. He has chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation which is why he will not exercise his appeal rights and will begin serving the suspension immediately.”
Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that the Falcons have cut center/guard Rob Bruggeman in order to clear roster space for defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Babineaux is coming off a one-game suspension.
Bruggeman spent all of the 2009 season on the Falcons practice squad after being an undrafted rookie free agent out of Iowa signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He worked primarily as a reserve guard for the Falcons this preseason, and was active but did not play in the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports that Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux will be suspended without pay for the Falcons 2010 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, stemming from his December 2009 arrest for marijuana possession. In July, Babineaux pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession charge and received a year’s probation and a $1500 fine.
Babineaux joins guard Quinn Ojinnaka and linebacker Robert James as Falcons that will sit out at least one game this upcoming season.
The Falcons announced that linebacker Robert James will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 regular season due to violation of the league’s substance abuse policy due to performance enhancers. James will remain eligible to participate in the Falcons preseason and training camp activities.
James was a fifth round pick for the Falcons in 2008. He sat out his rookie season with a head injury. He spent most of last season on the Falcons practice squad, but was promoted to the active roster for the season finale and appeared in that game.
He is the second Falcon player to be suspended for the beginning of the season. Guard Quinn Ojinnaka will also be suspended for the season opener due to a May 2009 battery incident against his wife.
No word on whether the suspensions will impact either players’ ability to make the teams’ final roster. The addition of top pick Sean Weatherspoon coupled with his suspension could impact his ability to make a reserve spot. Ojinnaka will also be competed with rookies Mike Johnson and Joe Hawley for a reserve guard position.
Newsweek reports that Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson is not among the six players that the league announced would be suspended due to a violation of the NFL’s steroid policy. The seven players including Jackson had all appealed their suspensions which were handed down in October, but for six of them those suspensions will be upheld.
Jackson’s potential suspension has not yet been overturned. According to the Pioneer Press, NFL chief counsel Jeff Pash had heard the appeals by the players, but per NFL spokesman Greg Aiello will need additional information from Jackson in order to make a decision about his suspension.
While Jackson will be eligible to play this week against the New Orleans Saints, his status remains uncertain in subsequent weeks if the league follows suit and turns down his appeal.
Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson will have a hearing for the league to hear his appeal tomorrow. Jackson has been suspended four games by the NFL due to a violation of the league’s steroid policy. Jackson took an illegal substance called Bumetanide, which can be used for weight loss as well as a masking agent for steroids.
Jackson tested positive for Bumetanide due to his taking of StarCaps diet pills. Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the company that manufactures StarCaps for false advertising and unfair business practices per the AJC.
While Jackson was suspended shortly after his positive test was first revealed in October, he has been able to still play for the Falcons since due to his appealing the suspension. After his hearing on Friday, he and the Falcons will know if his suspension will be dropped or upheld. If the suspension is upheld, Jackson won’t miss this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers. But instead will begin serving his suspension the following week and will not be available to play again until the final game of the season versus the St. Louis Rams on December 28.
Pro Football Weekly reports that ex-Falcons safety Jimmy Williams has been suspended for five games this season by the NFL.
Despite his suspension, Williams can still sign and practice with a team, as the suspension only takes effect at the start of the regular season. No specific reason for why Williams was suspended, but it likely stems from his arrest for marijuana possession last year.
The Falcons released Williams in June. He had reportedly skipped some OTAs in May and also reported to mini-camp over 230 pounds. His listed weight in 2007 was 212 pounds.
The NFL has levied an indefinite suspension against Michael Vick within hours of the summary of facts being released in his guilty plea on Friday. Vick will officially enter this plea agreement on Monday.
In the summary of facts, Vick admits guilt to most of the facts listed in the initial indictment. Including bankrolling the property in Smithfield and also the purses won or lost at ensuing dogfights, although it does indicate that the purses won off the fights were split mainly between his other co-defendants. It also admits that Vick was involved in the deaths of six to eight dogs this past April, in which he and two others dispatched these dogs by various means.
According to an AJC report the Falcons will begin to attempt to recoup bonus money remaining on Vick’s $130 million contract he signed in 2004. Previous reports suggest the amount of money the Falcons could receive is up to $28 million.
Vick’s suspension will be reviewed upon the completion of legal proceedings. As a result of his guilty plea to federal charges, it is now expected that Vick will be indicted next month on state charges in Virginia.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has provided a copy of Vick’s plea agreement in PDF format.