Falcons lineman Joe Hawley suspended four games for use of banned substance

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Hawley was suspended four games for violating NFL rules against performance-enhancing substances.


The league announced the penalty Monday, one day after the NFC-leading Falcons improved to 9-1 with a 23-19 victory over Arizona.

Hawley is a backup behind Falcons longtime center Todd McClure. The suspension begins immediately, meaning Hawley can’t return to the Atlanta roster until Dec. 17.

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

RAVENS: Star safety Ed Reed was suspended for one game by the NFL for repeated hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players and will miss Sunday’s game against San Diego.

Reed is suspended for three violations of the player safety rules in the past three seasons.

PATRIOTS: Rob Gronkowski is recovering from surgery for a broken forearm.

It is not clear how much time Gronkowski was expected to miss.

BRONCOS: Running back Willis McGahee tore a ligament in his right knee and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

An MRI conducted Monday showed a “nonsurgical” tear, said coach John Fox. He said there was no immediate plan to put McGahee on injured reserve.

STEELERS: Quarterback Byron Leftwich injured his ribs in Sunday night’s loss to Baltimore and will not start next week against the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers, who are already without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, will likely turn to 37-year-old backup Charlie Batch.

LIONS: Wide receiver Titus Young will be benched this week after what coach Jim Schwartz called “unacceptable” behavior during Sunday’s loss to Green Bay.

Schwartz did not characterize the move as a suspension, but he said Young was sent home from the team’s practice facility Monday and will be inactive for Detroit’s game against Houston on Thanksgiving. The coach did not say what Young specifically did wrong.

“When you play a team sport, you need to put team before yourself,” Schwartz said. “There’s no room for selfish behavior.”

REDSKINS: Safety Brandon Meriweather is out for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee, one day after his impressive season debut in a win over Philadelphia.

JAGUARS: Chad Henne will be the starting quarterback Sunday against Tennessee.

Coach Mike Mularkey made the announcement Monday, one day after Henne threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-37 overtime loss at Houston. Blaine Gabbert injured his right forearm early in the game.