Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Falcons have line depth so Hageman suddenly wasn't worth trouble


There are several times in sports when a team will stand by a player against the backdrop of domestic violence charges or accusations, largely because the coach and front office value that player's skills.

But Ra'Shede Hageman wasn't worth the trouble.

The Falcons, who for the first time in memory have depth on the defensive line, released Hageman Monday, two days after placing him on the commissioner's exempt list, which is a precursor to a potential suspension.

Hageman is under investigation for incident that actually took place in March of 2016 -- 18 months ago -- but has lingered. Hageman has allegedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, according to our D. Orlando Ledbetter , and is now awaiting a decision on suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The original arrest warrant, stemming from an incident between Hageman and the mother of his child in DeKalb County, listed charges of  interfering with a call for emergency help, battery family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree. Hageman was alleged to have pulled the woman's hair and pushed her down in the parking lot of her apartment complex. He also allegedly took the woman's phone to prevent her from calling 911. The couple's young child was reportedly present during the alleged incident.

The Falcons may draw some praise for cutting ties with Hageman but the fact is they didn't cut ties with him last season, when there was a thought they needed him on the football field. So let's keep the praise to a minimum.

They're deep on the defensive line now. Grady Jarrett and free agent acquisition Dontari Poe start at defensive tackle in the 4-3 and are backed up by Jack Crawford. The group of eight defensive linemen on the final roster also has Courtney Upshaw, Brooks Reed, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby and first-round pick Takk McKinley. The defense also brings linebacker Vic Beasley rushing off  the edge.

Hageman was a part of the last draft before coach Dan Quinn's arrival, and overall he was a bust of a draft pick. They took Hageman early in the second round (37th overall) because the coaching staff at the time, led by Mike Smith and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, believed he would fit well into the 3-4 scheme.

But Hageman had a reputation for struggling with motivational and conditioning issues coming out of college, and that tag proved to be accurate. There was a thought he might not make the roster last season but he showed some improvement and the Falcons didn't have the depth they show now.

Now there's no room for him, and with Goodell set to possibly hand down a suspension, he's not worth the trouble.

EARLIER:  Other than injury, thoughts of replacing Jacob Eason are silly

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.