After sitting out two seasons because of legal issues, defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman says he is a changed man and wants another shot at the NFL.
The Minneapolis native and former University of Minnesota star was released by the Atlanta Falcons in September 2017 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct following an arrest in March 2016 on domestic violence charges.
Hageman then was arrested last June in Hennepin County on suspicion of fourth-degree driving while impaired, and eventually pleaded to careless driving.
Hageman said Wednesday “it sucks” having been out of the NFL. He has been in living in Fridley and working out regularly.
“It’s been one heck of a two years sitting out and just watching my fellow teammates play, but it’s definitely a learning experience,” Hageman told the Pioneer Press while attending Minnesota’s Pro Day. “The whole process is just getting back in everybody’s ear (with NFL teams) about me staying out of trouble. You can’t beat around the bush. They obviously want to see consistency with me. I’m letting everybody know that my past is my past.”
A source said about five teams have shown some interest in signing Hageman, including Minnesota. The Vikings could use another defensive tackle.
Hageman, 28, started 16 of 44 games for the Falcons from 2014-16 after being a second-round draft pick. He started Super Bowl LI, a 34-28 overtime loss to New England in February 2017.
“I’m probably in the best shape of my life just for the fact that I’ve been spending a year and half away from football with nothing to do but work and train,” Hageman said. “Whatever team I end up playing with, they’re going to get a hard, hungry, humble player.”
Hageman faced charges of battery, cruelty to children and interfering with calls for emergency assistance from an alleged March 2016 incident at the Atlanta-area home of the mother of his son. Hageman said he never struck anyone.
“The domestic (violence charges) got dropped,” he said. “It was disorderly conduct (that he pleaded to). … I’m not going to go into detail (on what happened). Disorderly conduct is you yelling, cussing, swearing out loud. It varies. Disorderly conduct could be a range of things, just verbal confrontation.
“At the end of the day, I’m a better person. I’ve learned from my experiences and I move forward. … Sitting out has really humbled me.”
Hageman said he performed 100 hours of community service, which included “stacking food for the homeless in the Atlanta area.” He said he has taken some “classes just to educate myself to avoid some situations.”
For Hageman’s legal issues while he was with the Falcons, the NFL suspended him for six games in 2017. Though he wasn’t on a roster, that suspension is off the books since Hageman was still under contract that season, and was docked six weeks of pay.