Falcons backup lineman suspended 4 games for PEDs

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Hawley received a four-game suspension from the NFL on Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Hawley, a third-year player, backs up the Falcons' longtime center, Todd McClure. The suspension begins immediately, meaning Hawley can't return to the Atlanta roster until Dec. 17 -- a day after the NFC-leading team faces the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

His agent, Kevin Omell, released a statement saying Hawley took Adderall in September without filing the proper paperwork with the league for a medical exemption. The stimulant is perhaps best known as a treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

"He is sincerely sorry to his teammates, coaches and Falcons fans for the consequences of this oversight," Omell said. "Joe will work diligently every day of this suspension to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the team continue the success they've achieved thus far this season."

Hawley will not appeal the suspension.

"He has chosen to be immediately accountable for the situation," his agent said.

While Hawley is out, the Falcons will likely use rookie Peter Konz as McClure's backup. Konz is also the starter at right guard.

The Falcons (9-1) face NFC South rival Tampa Bay (6-4) on Sunday. Hawley also will miss game against division foes New Orleans and Carolina.

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