The number ninety is not just the number of days left until opening day for the Falcons—it is also the number of their defensive tackle, Ra’Shede Hageman, who has been in the spotlight quite a lot recently for domestic violence charges.
After missing two NFL seasons due to legal issues, Hageman will finally be ready to play football again after he sits out the first two games of the 2019 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Falcons officially signed Hageman to the team in April—clearly, they think he can provide what the team needs on the defensive line.
Surprisingly enough, the Falcons still wanted to re-sign Hageman after he caused problems for two years. In his initial season with the Falcons he started 16 of 44 games and had four sacks with 21 tackles—he provided depth to the defensive line, dominating over other teams and their offensive lineman. He brought plenty of talent to the team, talent that was needed and is still needed, but his legal issues are not worth the hassle.
NFL players and run-ins with the law unfortunately go together like peanut-butter and jelly, but that does not mean teams should still tolerate the behavior. The Falcons are bringing him back on under the impression that he will change his behavior (despite his impending two game suspension) and climb back to the top to show everyone he is still the same player as he was when he was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft. Hageman will be worth it if he can prove that he has the strength to stick to his word and work harder than everyone else.