The Atlanta Falcons terminated the contract of 2014 second-round draft pick Ra'Shede Hageman, a defensive tackle who was arrested last year on domestic violence charges stemming from an alleged incident with his then-girlfriend.
In a statement Monday morning, the Falcons said they released Hageman with a year and $1,147,614 remaining on his contract as an "organizational decision to move forward ... after a thorough investigative process by local authorities."
According to a police report from DeKalb County, Georgia, obtained by The Associated Press last year, Hageman faced misdemeanor charges of battery, cruelty to children, and interfering with calls for emergency assistance stemming from a March 2016 incident at the home of Janeal Jefferies. Her son was present at the time, according to the report.
"The NFL placed Ra'Shade Hageman on the Commissioner's Exempt List as a result of domestic violence-related charges filed by prosecutors in DeKalb County, GA following a March 2016 incident," read a statement released Monday by NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. "The criminal proceeding concluded in late August, and the league's investigation remains pending."
"Really as an organization, we weren't comfortable with where things were,'' Falcons coach Dan Quinn said following Monday's practice. ``As you know, it's an ongoing investigation through the league, so I won't comment much further past that.''
The Falcons became aware of the incident that March but didn't address it publicly until last September.
"It's ongoing, so really, I can't really say nothing about that," Hageman said last September. "I don't want to be a distraction toward the team, so I've got to let my lawyers handle that situation."
Quinn was asked Monday why it took so long for the organization to make a decision on Hageman.
"Really just the information that we got later, at this time we were just not comfortable having him as a member of the team,'' Quinn said. "Past that, it's still under review, so I can't comment a lot about that. But, yeah, definitely took a long time.''
From a football perspective, the loss of Hageman as the backup nose tackle won't disrupt the Falcons' plans much.
Quinn said he plans to feature starters Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe as much as possible with Jack Crawford and Courtney Upshaw also in that interior nickel rotation. All four players are capable of being interchangeable in the base package.