FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons signed Ra'Shede Hageman to a one-year deal on Friday, giving a second chance to the defensive tackle the team released in 2017 after he was charged with domestic violence.
Hageman, 28, was a second-round pick from Minnesota in 2014. He started a combined 16 games in 2015 and 2016. He has been out of the league since his release by the Falcons following an incident with his girlfriend in 2016.
If he makes the roster, Hageman will be suspended for the first two games of the 2019 season for a violation of the substance abuse policy following a recent DWI arrest. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press all teams were informed of the suspension on April 5.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement released by the team the Falcons believe in giving opportunities "when people take responsibility for their actions and are committed to change."
"We believe Ra'Shede understands that his conduct was wrong and has learned from his mistakes," Dimitroff said. "He has met the obligations of the court in his prior matters and worked hard over the last two years including community service, intensive course work and rehab. That said, we understand the seriousness of his actions, and he knows we will not tolerate abusive behavior in any form."
Hageman (6-6, 310) had 18 tackles and two sacks in 2016.
He was placed the Commissioner's Exempt List on Sept. 2, 2017 as the NFL investigated charges filed by DeKalb County prosecutors following the March 2016 incident at the home of his girlfriend, Janeal Jefferies. Hageman faced charges of battery, cruelty to children and interfering with calls for emergency assistance.
He was released by the Falcons two days later.
"Ra'Shede has taken responsibility for his actions and continues to show genuine remorse as well as an ongoing commitment to getting better," said coach Dan Quinn in a statement. "He has put in the work necessary for us to give him another opportunity."
Hageman's return comes as the Falcons have sought to solidify the defensive tackle position. It is seen as one of the team's top needs entering next week's NFL draft.
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