Falcons starting DL suspended by NFL

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for 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.


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

A source told 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, 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

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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