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Falcons starting DL suspended by NFL

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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The Atlanta Falcons will not have the services of defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux for their regular-season opener at Pittsburgh.

A source told FOXSports.com that Babineaux has received a one-game suspension stemming from a 2009 marijuana possession arrest. He also will be fined another game check for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

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The NFL’s ruling will cost Babineaux roughly $260,000 of his $2.2 million salary for 2010, but the punishment could have been harsher. As first reported by FOXSports.com, a felony marijuana possession charge against Babineaux was reduced to three misdemeanor counts last month after a no-contest plea. Babineaux received 12 months probation and a $1,500 fine on one count. The other two counts were suspended and will not be prosecuted if he completes the probation without incident, Babineaux attorney Pat McDonough told FOXSports.com.

Babineaux and a friend were arrested on a marijuana possession charge last December after a traffic stop in Gwinnett (Ga.) County.

Babineaux, 28, logged career highs in tackles (47) and sacks (six) last season. Considered Atlanta’s top interior lineman, Babineaux signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension in 2008.

Thomas Johnson, Corey Peters, Vance Walker and Trey Lewis are the leading candidates to replace Babineaux alongside fellow starting defensive tackle Peria Jerry.

Tagged: Falcons, Jonathan Babineaux

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