Falcons give Hageman a second chance

University of Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman was selected in the second round with the 37th overall pick in the draft. (Curtis Compton/AJC file photo)
University of Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman was selected in the second round with the 37th overall pick in the draft. (Curtis Compton/AJC file photo)

Team re-signed ex-second pick to one-year deal

Former Falcons second-round pick Ra’Shede Hageman, after being out of the game for two seasons,  was re-signed to a one-year contract, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Friday. The team later announced the signing.

“As an organization, we believe in opportunities when people take responsibility for their actions and are committed to change,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We believe Ra’Shede understands that his conduct was wrong and has learned from his mistakes. He has met the obligations of the court in his prior matters and worked hard over the last two years including community service, intensive course work and rehab.

“That said, we understand the seriousness of his actions, and he knows we will not tolerate abusive behavior in any form.”

The Falcons parted ways with Hageman after his legal troubles started to mount in September 2017.

“Ra’Shede has taken responsibility for his actions and continues to show genuine remorse as well as an ongoing commitment to getting better,” coach Dan Quinn said. “He has put in the work necessary for us to give him another opportunity.”

Hageman, 28, who played in 44 games and made 16 starts for the Falcons, said he’s been “humbled” and wants to get back on the field. He started in Super Bowl LI for the Falcons.

Hageman also recently discussed his legal problems and pointed out that he pleaded guilty to a disorderly-conduct charge and did over 100 hours of community service stacking food for the homeless in metro Atlanta.

“It’s just nice in this business when you get a kid who shows real tangible maturation,” said Joby Branion, Hageman’s agent. “Learning how to accept responsibility. How important it is to learn from mistakes.”

Hageman recently visited with the Falcons and had a strong workout.

About five teams were interested in signing Hageman, including Minnesota. Hageman played at the University of Minnesota.

The Falcons have an opening at defensive tackle after they moved on from Terrell McClain, who started five games and played in 13 last season. The also signed former Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davision to a one-year contract.

In September 2017 the Falcons released Hageman just a few months after he started next to the legendary Dwight Freeney in Super Bowl LI.

After his domestic-violence case was fully adjudicated and he was suspended by the NFL, the Falcons released Hageman, a former second-round draft pick.

“The organizational decision to move forward without Hageman was made by the Falcons after a thorough investigative process by local authorities,” the team said at the time.

Hageman was selected with the 37th pick in the 2014 draft. He was expected to add some bulk and tenacity to the Falcons’ defensive line.

The Falcons drafted him, despite warnings of maturity and work ethic issues, from his days at Minnesota. But after working the Senior Bowl, the Falcons fell in love with Hageman and former defensive line coach Bryan Cox felt he could motivate Hageman.

Hageman was a load to block when he was firing hard.

Things started to unravel for Hageman in March 2016 when was involved in a domestic violence case in DeKalb County.

The incident was with the mother of his child. Hageman was charged with interfering with a call for emergency help, battery family violence and cruelty to children in the third degree.

The charges stem from an incident in which Hageman pulled the hair of the mother of his child and pushed her down in the parking lot outside of her apartment, causing her to sustain lacerations on her left hand and elbow. Hageman then took her phone, preventing her from calling 911. This incident happened in front of the couple's child.

Hageman continue to play while the case was pending in court.

The NFL contacted the team about the matter when after it happened.

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