KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A reflective and remorseful Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali spoke to the media for the first time Wednesday since he was suspended for one game for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Hali began to answer the first question from a reporter about the Chiefs’ loss to Atlanta, then stopped in mid-sentence to make a statement.
“I want to apologize to the league and to the Hunt family,” Hali said, looking down. “I know this is not the type of light they want the organization to be in. I’m truly sorry for embarrassing them.
“I just want to move forward and get back and get better as a team, and as an individual.”
Hali, the Chiefs’ top pass rusher and one of the team leaders in the locker room, also reiterated that he would not discuss the reason for failing the NFL’s substance test.
“I have to be careful with what I say,” Hali said, “because (NFL commissioner) Roger (Goodell) could fine me for anything (I say). I’m sorry for what happened, and now, I just want to move on. Hopefully, this will make me a better person.”
Hali did add, though, that he was not upset with the league regarding his penalty.
“No, the league has to do what it has to do,” he said. “I have no disputes.”
Hali, though, appeared especially frustrated with having to sit out the opener and watch his defensive teammates get pummeled in a 40-24 loss to the Falcons.
But Hali did not point fingers at his teammates.
“We played a great team, and it’s always frustrating when you can’t be out there,” Hali said. “There were other (injured) guys, too, who wanted to contribute. But the team played its best. But, yes, it was frustrating.”
Hali said he stayed in town during his suspension and watched the game at home.
“I was able to go to the facility and take part in the meetings last week,” he said. “I just couldn’t practice out there.
“I stayed at home Sunday and watched the game with my daughter. It wasn’t fun, screaming at the TV all day.”
Hali said he doesn’t want to have to wake up another Sunday with nothing to do.
“We have our routine on Sunday for games,” he said. “You get to the stadium and you have things to do. This time, I got up and I had nothing to do but watch some stuff on TV (until the game started) and walk around.
“But, I got through it.”
Although the defense did little to slow down Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and company, and registered just one sack, Hali wasn’t about to claim his presence would’ve changed the result.
“I think as a whole we just have to keep working and keep getting better,” he said. “Each guy has to get better. I don’t think we played bad but that team we played really executed. Now, we have to find a way to go out and execute.”
The Chiefs’ opponent Sunday, the Bills, also took a beating, 48-28 at the hands of the Jets. And, obviously, neither the Bills nor the Chiefs can afford to start the season 0-2.
“I think they (the Bills) will be desperate for a win,” Hali said, “and we will want to win. We will be emotional. Our guys weren’t too pleased with the results we had offensively, defensively and with special teams. Obviously, that will make us pretty emotional come Sunday. But we have to stay poised and do our jobs.”