FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons lineman Joe Hawley was suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy on Monday.
“Joe Hawley of the Atlanta Falcons has been suspended without pay for the team’s next four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances,” according to a statement from the league.
Hawley’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Falcons’ active roster on Monday, December 17 following the team’s game against the New York Giants on Dec. 16.
Hawley tested positive for Adderall and not any anabolic steroids, according to his agent Kevin Omell.
In September, Joe Hawley made a mistake by taking an Adderall pill. He did not file the paperwork to apply for an exemption for this medication, and now understands that the NFL/NFLPA drug policies have strict rules.
“He is sincerely sorry to his teammates, coaches and Falcons fans for the consequences of this oversight,” according to a statement released by Omell. “Joe will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the team continue the success they’ve achieved thus far this season. He has chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation which is why he will not exercise his appeal rights and will begin serving the suspension immediately.”
Adderall has been on the league’s banned substance list since 2006.
The NFLPA issues a handbook to players each year with list of the banned substances.
Hawley made a mistake and plans to immediately serve his suspension, according to Omell.
Hawley is the backup center and guard. He played one play against Arizona, when Todd McClure left the game with an undisclosed injury.
Hawley started 12 games last season at guard and center. His spot on the game-day active roster will likely be taken by rookie Phillipkeith Manley.
Peter Konz, who starts at right guard, would assume the backup center role.
Hawley tested positive during a routine test administered by the NFL. Adderall, which can be used to treat symptoms linked to attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy, is among the league’s list of banned substance but can be used legally in the NFL as long as a player applies for an exemption from the league.