|Hali's is suspended for Week 1. (US Presswire)|
The biggest downfall for the Chiefs in 2011 was that they had too many players miss too many games. And the 2012 Chiefs got a bad start turning that around on Monday when it was announced that linebacker Tamba Hali was suspended for the first game of the season.
The Chiefs are scheduled to take on the potentially high-powered Falcons in Week 1, and losing Hali is a huge blow to a KC defense that played particularly well down the stretch under interim (and now full-time) coach Romeo Crennel.
"Tamba's situation is unfortunate," Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said in a statement released by the team. "Obviously, we are disappointed and will miss him during this suspension, but the NFL's policies are very clear and we respect the league's decision in this matter. We are unable to comment further on this matter or any aspect of the NFL's Drug Policy.”
Hali, drafted with the 20th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by KC, has been incredibly productive since joining the Chiefs. He's compiled 53.5 sacks in six seasons with the team, but his play the past two seasons has really stood out, as Hali's emerged as one of the best pass-rushing outside linebackers in the NFL, compiling 26.5 sacks over that time.
In August of last year, the Chiefs recognized his impressive play by handing the linebacker a five-year, $60 million contract.
Hali issued an apology on Monday to the media at Arrowhead Stadium.
"I apologize to my teammates, the Hunt family, the Kansas City Chiefs organization and most importantly, our fans," Hali said. "I accept the discipline from the league and will return week 2 of the NFL season with a commitment to erase this mistake with my play on the field and my conduct off of it."
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