<
>

C Joe Hawley ejected from practice

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons starting center Joe Hawley was ejected from Monday's joint practice with the Tennessee Titans for fighting.

Hawley apparently got into it with Titans safety Michael Griffin. The teams began fighting from the outset of practice, and Titans safety Bernard Pollard yelled "pretenders" at the Falcons throughout practice.

With NFL officials there refereeing the practice, Hawley was tossed.

Falcons coach Mike Smith addressed Hawley's ejection.

"The guys knew the rules of engagement, and they were violated," Smith said. "And when they were violated, there's going to be a consequence. And the consequence was there was some other guys that had to now step up and take some extra reps. We lost a good player."

Peter Konz replaced Hawley as the first-team center following the ejection.

"In the game, if that were to happen, we're going to lose a player," Smith said. "We need to learn that we can't be fighting."

Hawley was also involved with Sunday's fight against rookie teammate Ra'Shede Hageman, which led to Hageman throwing a punch and suffering a bruised hand. Hageman practiced Monday despite the injury. Hawley also was involved in a scuffle with rookie outside linebacker Jacques Smith.

Fights during Falcons' camp have intensified with a theme of being more physical up front. They have made for good material for HBO's "Hard Knocks," which will follow the Falcons throughout training camp. The first episode airs Tuesday.

Also for the Falcons, reserve offensive lineman Gabe Carimi left the field with an injury and didn't return. Carimi, who has had knee injuries in the past, was able to put light pressure on both legs as a team medical staff member aided him to the locker room.