The Atlanta Falcons have released Ra’Shede Hageman, the veteran defensive tackle who was surprisingly placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List a couple of days ago during roster cutdowns. The release appears to stem from a March 2016 domestic incident, and is due to the resolution of a criminal investigation into that issue. We don’t know what the conclusion of that investigation was, but it’s fair to assume the Falcons finally felt they couldn’t keep Hageman around any longer.
Hageman was charged with three misdemeanors back in March, which came to light after the Falcons mysteriously listed him as inactive at the beginning of the 2016 season. Hageman went on to play quite a bit the rest of the way, having arguably his best season as a pro, and he figured to be the team’s third defensive tackle during the 2017 season.
The timing of this release suggests—as the team’s article does—that the team learned something in late August from the criminal investigation into the incident that made them want to finally cut ties with Hageman, nearly a year and a half after the incident. Chances are we’ll eventually learn what that is, but we simply don’t know right now. Hageman could still face a league suspension, too, once the NFL finishes looking into the incident. Chances are teams won’t rush to snap him up until that’s known.
It’s a disappointing end to three years in Atlanta for Hageman, a former second-round pick who never lived up to his initial promise. The league has much less tolerance for domestic violence these days, to their credit, and this will probably prove to be the right move for the team. There’s just still a lot, given the timing, that we’d all like to know.