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Monday, September 24, 2007
Falcons' Hall faces 'significant discipline' for Sunday's meltdown

Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- DeAngelo Hall faces "substantial discipline" that may include a suspension following his meltdown on the field and on the sideline against Carolina.

We certainly don't like the actions that took place on the field and do not like the actions that happened on the sideline and that's something that we'll deal with. There will be substantial discipline. It will be handled in-house.

Bobby Petrino

Hall's loss of composure on the field helped lead to the Atlanta Falcons' third straight loss. His tirade on the sideline could cost him a fine or a suspension.

Hall, the Falcons' two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, drew three penalties for 67 yards on Carolina's game-tying drive in the third quarter of the Panthers' 27-20 win Sunday.

"I made a mistake. I promise you it won't happen again, no matter what," Hall said Monday.

"It don't feel good to be the reason your team lost the game, whether it's giving up a touchdown pass or you get a stupid penalty. It all feels the same. ... Ultimately, I let the team down."

The penalties hurt, but disciplinary actions being considered by coach Bobby Petrino may be the result of Hall, enraged by the penalties, confronting the coach in an animated sideline tirade.

"We certainly don't like the actions that took place on the field and do not like the actions that happened on the sideline and that's something that we'll deal with," Petrino said. "There will be substantial discipline. It will be handled in-house."

When asked if Hall could be suspended next Sunday against Houston, Petrino said: "We haven't come to any conclusions yet. We're keeping all our options open, but we certainly will do something."

Petrino conferred with team leaders about Hall on Monday.

"I guess they're coming up with a plan, determining what they feel is the best thing to do," Hall said.

"If it's a suspension or a fine, especially if it's a suspension, I take it in full stride."

The Falcons already have endured the indefinite suspension of quarterback Michael Vick following his guilty plea on a dogfighting charge last month. Vick faces sentencing on Dec. 10.

Now Hall's status is uncertain.

"Whatever decision is made, we've got to accept it," said linebacker Keith Brooking. "We've been faced with a lot this year.

"DeAngelo will learn from it and he'll be a better man, better person, better player for whatever action is taken."

Hall shut down receiver Steve Smith through most of the game. Smith did not have a catch when the Falcons led 17-10 in the third quarter, but the momentum shifted when Hall was called for a 37-yard pass interference penalty on Smith.

One play later, Hall was penalized for roughness after he tried to jam Smith at the line. The Falcons' defense held when Jake Delhomme was sacked by John Abraham on third down from the Atlanta 20, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the free-talking Hall as he was walking off the field kept the Panthers' drive alive.

Two plays later, Delhomme threw a pass to Jeff King for the tying score.

Hall, enraged by the penalties, engaged Petrino and assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr. in heated sideline tirades.

At one point, Hall had to be restrained by three players.

Hall said he has traded trash talk with other receivers, but has never drawn a penalty. He says he has learned a lesson.

"The same things you love about me are going to be the same things you hate about me," Hall said. "The same fire and intensity I bring on the field, it kind of gets me in trouble."

Petrino, the former Louisville coach, is in his first season with the Falcons. He said he has made adjustments in his dealings with college and professional players, but some standards are the same at all levels.

Presumably, one line that should not be crossed at any level is a player yelling at a coach.

"The thing I want to try to be is consistent so everybody understands how you conduct your business," Petrino said. "There's basically universal rights and wrongs to being a member of a team, and most all of the players understand that."

Petrino would not comment on what Hall said to the coach.

"We're also going to keep anything that happened on the sideline in-house," Petrino said. "It's really between our team."

Thanks to the live TV coverage, the confrontation was anything but private, however.

When asked Sunday what he said to Petrino, Hall said: "We just were talking, talking about the plays that happened. He was telling me what he thought and I was telling him what I felt."

Petrino said he conferred with his defensive assistants about pulling Hall from the game.

"Sometimes you have to handle the situation at hand on how you feel you've got a chance to win the game and what you feel is best at the time," Petrino said Monday.

"Then once the game is over with, you sit back and reanalyze. Should I have pulled him out of the game? I don't know. Maybe I should have, but I made the decision not to."

Falcons players said Hall's penalties hurt the team, but were not solely responsible for the loss.

"In hindsight, yeah you have to try to control yourself," said running back Warrick Dunn. "... We still had opportunities to win the game."

Defensive tackle Grady Jackson, one of the players who had to restrain Hall on the sideline, said, "It changed the momentum and I feel like that was the game-changer."