Defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman is back with the Falcons after two years away from the NFL.
"Soon as I stepped on the field, everything kind of came back together," said Hageman. "Just honored and blessed to be here, man. It's something I've been thinking about for two years."
The former second round pick has had a turbulent last few years. He started in the Super Bowl for Atlanta, but was released after details emerged about a domestic violence arrest in 2016. Those charges were eventually dropped, and Hageman pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
Hageman also was arrested in Minnesota for driving while impaired in June of 2018. He ended up pleading guilty to careless driving. That earned a two-game suspension which he will serve to start this year.
The Falcons decided in April to give him another chance, signing the 28-year-old to a one-year contract.
"The mindset to come in and make sure he can apply himself in the very best ways will be where it's at," said Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. "He's done a good job. You can feel his intent for doing it right."
Hageman did not go into much detail on what happened in the 2016 incident that led to his release from the Falcons and a six-game suspension from the league, which he served while he was a free agent. He told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he did not physically strike anyone.
"It's the past," said Hageman. "Ain't nothing to talk about. I'm moving forward, trying to regain my respect and my position as a football player."
Hageman says he knows every decision he makes will be under a microscope. He feels a different perspective as he tries to earn a spot back on his former team.
"I definitely learned from my situation," said Hageman. "I feel like people who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Just understanding second chances don't come easy. At the end of the day, being blessed to be here and taking full advantage of it."
Hageman went to college at the University of Minnesota, and played in 44 regular season games in his three seasons with the Falcons, registering 61 tackles and 4 sacks.