Falcons DT Ra'Shede Hageman addresses domestic violence charges

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman declined to discuss in detail the circumstances surrounding his arrest on domestic violence charges stemming from an alleged incident with his girlfriend.

According to a DeKalb County, Georgia, police report obtained by the Associated Press, Hageman faces misdemeanor charges of battery, cruelty to children, and interfering with calls for emergency assistance stemming from a March incident at the home of Janeal Jefferies. Her son was present at the time, according to the report.

Hageman, who practiced Wednesday, addressed the media for the first time since the arrest became public.

"It's ongoing, so really, I can't really say nothing about that," Hageman said Wednesday during the time when the locker room was open to the media. "I don't want to be a distraction toward the team, so I've got to let my lawyers handle that situation."

Hageman was asked if he expects the case to be dropped.

"It's just an ongoing situation right now," Hageman repeated. "I really can't say too much about it right now. So as of right now, I'm just focusing on my job."

The Falcons became aware of the incident in March but didn't address it publicly until Monday, a day after Hageman was made inactive for the first time in 33 career games with the team. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Hageman was not inactive as a result of the incident but because of scheme, since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense forces more nickel situations.

Quinn declined to speak about the specifics of the incident until after it is reviewed through the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"We're aware of the serious allegations that are there," Quinn said Monday. "Under the player conduct policy, we're not allowed to comment on any investigation forthright. But we have been aware of those [allegations], but won't further comment until the league comes to a final conclusion and all the facts have been brought forth."

When contacted Monday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, "This is under review of the NFL's personal conduct policy."

Hageman, a 2014 second-round draft pick out of Minnesota, has 44 combined tackles and two sacks in his career. Quinn was asked why Hageman was kept on the 53-man roster after the incident. The Falcons cut linebacker Prince Shembo last season after he was charged with killing his girlfriend's dog, and the team also let go of undrafted linebacker Torrey Green in August after sexual assault allegations.

"I'm not going to comment further on that due to the player conduct," Quinn said. "Each situation is different. For us with this one, we're certainly going to allow the appropriate channels to take place."

In Shembo's case, felony charges were dropped in August 2015 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to community service. As for Green, The Salt Lake Tribune reported in August that prosecutors were re-examining his case.