The NFL has suspended Kansas City All-Pro linebacker Tamba Hali for the season opener against Atlanta for violating its policy on substance abuse.
The league announced the suspension Monday without disclosing details. Hali will miss the Sept. 9 game against the Falcons and be fined an additional game check.
"I apologize to my teammates, the Hunt family, the Kansas City Chiefs organization and, most importantly, our fans. I accept the discipline from the league and will return Week 2 of the NFL season with a commitment to erase this mistake with my play on the field and my conduct off of it," Hali said in a written statement Monday.
Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli said Hali's situation is unfortunate.
"Obviously, we are disappointed and will miss him during this suspension, but the NFL's policies are very clear and we respect the league's decision in this matter. We are unable to comment further on this matter or any aspect of the NFL's Drug Policy," Pioli said in a written statement.
Head coach Romeo Crennel thinks the team will rally around Hali and support him the best they can.
"We're disappointed. We're disappointed for him; we're disappointed for the team, disappointed for the organization and the fans, but it is what it is. Tamba is a guy who is very prideful," Crennel said.
Crennel said Hali will able to practice with the team and be able to play in the preseason games.
Hali is a rising star who went to his first Pro Bowl last season along with fellow Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. Hali had 12 sacks while Johnson set a franchise record with 131 tackles.
Hali apparently was arrested and the punishment came once the case was adjucated, but it escaped public notice before Monday. Some media outlets reported the arrest was related to marijuana use.
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