Falcons to give Hall large fine for outbursts in loss
ATLANTA -- Cornerback DeAngelo Hall will not be suspended by Atlanta officials, ESPN.com has learned, but will be sanctioned with what one league source termed a "pretty steep" fine for his actions in the Falcons' 27-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday.
Sources said the fine will be for less than one full game-check, which based on Hall's base salary of $3.11 million for 2007, would have amounted to $182,941. But the penalty levied by the Falcons will still be in the low six-figure range.
Coach Bobby Petrino said Monday that the Falcons would impose "substantial discipline" on Hall, who lost his composure during a third-quarter sequence in which the fourth-year veteran drew three penalties for 67 yards. The meltdown came with the winless Falcons leading 17-10 and it contributed to Carolina eventually scoring a tying touchdown.
All three flags were a result of Hall's encounters with Panthers' star wide receiver Steve Smith. The sequence included a defensive pass interference penalty of 37 yards, a personal foul for 15 yards and a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
It also featured Hall engaged in a verbal altercation with assistant secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr., and a heated conversation with Petrino. The outburst concluded when teammates pulled Hall away from the first-year head coach.
Hall could not be reached for comment late Tuesday night.
On Monday, though, Hall indicated to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was prepared to accept whatever punishment team officials deemed appropriate.
"If it's a suspension or a fine, especially if it's a suspension, I take it in full stride," Hall said. "It don't feel good to be the reason your team loses a game."
Those words aside, it is not known if Hall will appeal the fine.
The decision on the fine came after great deliberation by Atlanta officials, including multiple discussions with the Management Council, which is essentially the NFL's labor department, and consultation with a select group of Falcons' veteran leaders. Certainly a suspension was one of the options discussed internally by team officials.
It appears as though Atlanta management was attempting to strike a balance between a penalty harsh enough to be perceived as having teeth, but not one so strident that it might have possibly been overturned by an arbitrator.
Hall, 23, was the Falcons' first-round choice in the 2004 draft and he has earned Pro Bowl honors in each of the past two seasons.
The former Virginia Tech star acknowledged after Sunday's events that he often allows his emotions to get the better of him. He vowed, however, to never suffer another meltdown like the one that occurred Sunday.
"I made a mistake," Hall said. "I promise it won't happen again, no matter what."