Kansas City Chiefs LB Tamba Hali released a statement shortly after news broke that he would be suspended without pay for the first game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse.
“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.”
It won’t make the suspension go away or help the Chiefs get to Matt Ryan any on September 9, but I want to know what the violation was for. At the very least it will allow every Chiefs fan to try and understand what put this team in a tough situation before the season even starts.
If you are looking for a silver lining — other than Hali’s pledge to “erase” the suspension by stepping up on and off the field — it’s the the chance to see second-year LB Justin Houston get some run as “the man”.
Certainly no one wants to see Houston forced into the top spot in the Chiefs pass rush, but this should give us a good idea of just how far he has come since last season. If he can handle the added pressure of filling the gaping hole left by Hali, the Kansas City defense could be in for a special season.