Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Hawley was suspended on Monday for four games for violation of the NFLs policy on performing enhancing substances.
Hawleys suspension is effective immediately. According to a statement by the team, the suspension ends on Monday, Dec. 17, following the Falcons home game with the New York Giants.
Hawleys natural position is center and he played one snap in Sundays 23-19 win over Arizona when long-time starter Todd McClure was injured and had to sit out for a play. Hawley, 24, started 12 games in 2011: three for McClure early in the season and then the rest at right guard.
This season, Hawley has played in six games with most of his snaps coming at the Falcons jumbo tight end position or, at times, at fullback. The Falcons have even thrown him a couple of passes on occasion early in the season but without success.
Hawley was selected in the fourth round in 2010 out of UNLV. At 6-foot-3, 302 pounds, he is on the small side for an offensive lineman.
In his absence, the Falcons back-up center likely will become rookie Peter Konz. Konz, a second-round pick in 2012, is starting at right guard but played center at Wisconsin. Mike Johnson would then likely fill Konzs spot at right guard.