ATLANTA — The Ra'Shede Hageman story, relative to the Atlanta Falcons, just added another surprising chapter.
On Friday, the club signed Hageman to a contract, just 19 months after releasing the mammoth defensive tackle for off-field problems – most notably charges of domestic battery, cruelty to children and interfering with emergency assistance (2016 incident).
Back then, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said the franchise wasn't "comfortable" with Hageman's actions and conduct.
In the present, though, the Falcons apparently trust Hageman enough to welcome him back for a second chance.
"As an organization, we believe in opportunities when people take responsibility for their actions and are committed to change," said general manager Thomas Dimitroff in a prepared statement.
"We believe Ra'Shede understands that his conduct was wrong and has learned from his mistakes," he said. "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," Dimitroff added.
Quinn was similarly optimistic about Hageman's personal development during this 19-month break from pro football.
"Ra’Shede has taken responsibility for his actions and continues to show genuine remorse as well as an ongoing commitment to getting better. He has put in the work necessary for us to give him another opportunity," said Quinn.
Hageman was earmarked for great things upon being a second-round pick in 2014. He possessed good quickness with his immense size (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) and was slated to anchor the defensive line for the foreseeable future.
However, Hageman only enjoyed marginal success in his first go-round with the Falcons, averaging 1.3 sacks, three tackles for loss, four quarterback hits and just 20 tackles during his three-year tenure (2014-16).
Hageman has already served his six-game suspension, covering for the domestic battery charges.
But there are reports of Hageman still needing to serve a two-game suspension with the NFL, stemming from a DWI arrest.