The Kansas City Chiefs will be without linebacker Tamba Hali for their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, after the Pro Bowler was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
No specific details were given on what caused Hali to violate the league’s policy.
“I apologize to my teammates, the Hunt family, the Kansas City Chiefs organization and most importantly, our fans,” Hali said in a statement provided by the team. “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.”
Head coach Romeo Crennel confirmed to the media that the reason for Hali’s suspension was the violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He didn’t go into any further details about the suspension, but rather expressed his disappointment in Hali.
“The NFL’s substance-abuse policy is what it is,” Crennel said. “It was violated and there’s a consequence to be paid for it. Tamba will pay the consequence. We’re disappointed. We’re disappointed for him. We’re disappointed for the team. We’re disappointed for the organization and the fans. But it is what it is.”
Since entering the NFL in 2006, Hali has made a name for himself, becoming a force in the Chiefs defense, posting 53 1/2 sacks so far in his career including 26 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons. The suspension will come as a shock to Chiefs fans, as Hali has made it his business to be classy off the field. He’ll often sign hundreds of autographs for fans and regularly stays out of trouble and out of the headlines.
Crennel stated that Hali will practice with the team the rest of the offseason, but he will be sitting the first game of the year. But he expressed it could be difficult to give Hali reps since they need to find a replacement for him Week 1.
More information on Hali’s suspension will be reported when made available. For now, everyone connected to the Chiefs find themselves at a loss of words.
“Tamba’s situation is unfortunate,” Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said in a statement. “Obviously we are disappointed and will miss him during the suspension, but the NFL’s policies are very clear and we respect the league’s decision in this matter.”