Falcons DT Babineaux charged with drug possession
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith says Jonathan Babineaux’s
arrest Thursday night for felony possession of marijuana will not
affect his struggling team.
Babineaux, a fifth-year defensive tackle and arguably the
Falcons’ best pass rusher this season, has been charged with 1 1/2
ounces of marijuana. He was arrested during a traffic stop on
Interstate 85 at 10:45 p.m. Thursday.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a distraction,” Smith said.
“This is a strong group of men in this locker room. We all have a
job to do and we’re going to go out and do it.”
Babineaux practiced Friday, but refused interview requests after
the 1-hour workout. Smith declined to say whether Babineaux, whose
five sacks lead the team, would play Sunday when the Falcons (6-6)
host New Orleans (12-0).
According to Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. David
Schiralli, the arresting officer was still on duty Friday morning
and would not file a report until later.
Schiralli said Babineaux and another man, Aaron Robinson, were
driving in Babineaux’s 2005 Cadillac Escalade when police pulled
“It was pretty routine,” Schiralli said. “The officer saw
that the vehicle had an expired tag, no tag light and too heavy a
tint on the windows. The officer smelled marijuana and found three
bags containing a total of approximately 40 grams. That’s quite a
bit and enough for us to charge him with intent to
Babineaux re-signed with the Falcons last fall when the team
gave him a five-year, $25 million contract. He was drafted in the
second round out of Iowa in 2005.
Schiralli said Babineaux, who posted a bond of $5,700 and was
released from Gwinnett County jail at approximately 5 a.m., also
was charged with driving without a license.
Atlanta has lost three of four and five of seven as its defense
has dropped to last in the NFL with 49 plays allowed of 20 or more
In a statement released by team spokesman Reggie Roberts, owner
Arthur Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff “are aware of
the situation concerning Jonathan Babineaux and are in the process
of gathering information. Because this is a legal matter, we will
have no further comment at this time.”
Babineaux was cleared in November 2007 of a felony charge of
animal cruelty after the Gwinnett prosecutor’s office determined
evidence was lacking for his alleged involvement in the death of a
Gwinnett County Police arrested Babineaux on Feb. 19, 2007 after
his girlfriend, Blair Anderson, said she and Babineaux argued at
their home. She said she went to the movies, and when she returned,
she found her 1 1/2-year-old pit bull, Kilo, in “severe physical