Updates from Monday, August 4
Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcons.com provides a statement from Falcons head coach Mike Smith discussing Ra'Shede Hageman injury status:
Hageman does not have a fractured hand. You'll see, he'll be a full participant in practice (Monday). There was no fracture whatsoever in his hand, so he's a full participant in his hand (Monday).
Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman sustained a wrist injury in Sunday's training camp practice.
A league source told ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure that Hageman suffered a hairline wrist fracture when he threw a punch at a teammate during an intense padded practice.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Hageman's ill-fated altercation occurred with offensive guard Joe Hawley—and also that Hageman intends to return to the gridiron soon:
Rookie Ra'Shede Hageman is currently in the locker room having his hand checked out. He had swung at Hawley during that fight not long ago.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) August 3, 2014
However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk contradicts the reports of a broken wrist.
Clark Leonard of the Gainesville Times reported what Hageman had to say recently regarding his role early on in training camp: "It's my job to lock in, take as many notes as I can. ... You have to be quiet and invisible. You don’t want to be in the way."
In light of what transpired Sunday, the second-round pick out of Minnesota did himself no favors in establishing himself in the NFL. Head coach Mike Smith commented on the fine line between heated competition and crossing the line, as per McClure's report:
I think we're all talking about competing and fighting for jobs, but we're not talking about fighting each other. We've got to understand that. It's not what we're about. We're about competing and going out and trying to win a job. But we're not about fighting one another. That's something that happens when it gets hot. Today, it was hot, or hotter than what we've been used to practicing. But we've got to definitely get that fixed.
NFL.com affiliate CollegeFootball 24/7 noted one of the predraft criticisms Hageman fielded:
This is undoubtedly a bad rookie mistake from Hageman, who must exercise better judgment in the future. At least he's eager to get back to work and play through the pain with the aid of a cast, which should help rectify the way he put himself in harm's way in the eyes of teammates.
Hageman is a supreme athlete on the defensive line who can really help the Falcons defense, which ranked 31st against the run in 2013. To do that, though, he must be able to stay on the field and give consistent effort when he is in the game. Atlanta's organization has a winning culture even with last year's down season, so Hageman figures to be in a proper position to succeed as long as his attitude is right.