The Falcons have announced that they have released linebacker Prince Shembo, news that comes on the heels of a disturbing report that Shembo kicked his now-former girlfriend's Yorkie to death in April. The details, which are not for the faint of heart, can be found in FalconsM5's report here as well as the police report, which can be read in its entirety here.
Shembo was selected by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. In his rookie season, Shembo had 33 tackles and 26 assists over the course of 16 games. After playing outside linebacker at Notre Dame, Shembo transitioned inside for his rookie season. He was expected to switch back to outside linebacker in 2015. He will instead transition off the team entirely.
It's an understandable move from a franchise that was rocked to its core by another animal cruelty scandal back in 2007. It's hard to imagine the team choosing a different path here.
Shembo also came into the league with some questions around his character stemming from sexual assault allegations lobbied against him during his time at Notre Dame. Shembo was neither charged nor prosecuted, in part because the alleged victim took her own life, rendering any statements she made prior to her death hearsay and inadmissible in court. Drafting Shembo was a surprising departure for a team that has placed such an emphasis on character in recent years, and this incident is likely the type of thing the team was hoping to avoid in general with that approach.
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