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Chiefs' Hali suspended for opener

The SportsXchange

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali was suspended for the 2012 regular-season opener for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

"Tamba's situation is unfortunate," Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said. "Obviously, we are disappointed and will miss him during this suspension, but the NFL's policies are very clear and we respect the league's decision in this matter. We are unable to comment further on this matter or any aspect of the NFL's Drug Policy."

The NFL announced Hali was suspended for the Sept. 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons and fined an additional game check. He can continue to practice with the team until the regular season begins.

"The NFL's Substance Abuse Policy is what it is. It's been in place, and they've been fair about it," Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said. "It was violated, so there is a consequence to be paid for it. Tamba will pay the consequence."

Hali is the Chiefs' top pass rusher, with 26.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in the past two seasons.

He signed a five-year, $60 million deal in August 2011 after a breakthrough season in 2010. He led the AFC with 14.5 sacks in the last year of his five-year rookie contract.

Hali, 28, was the 20th overall pick in the 2006 draft. He has flourished as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and Crennel has called him "this team's pass rush."

"We're disappointed. We're disappointed for him; we're disappointed for the team, disappointed for the organization and the fans, but it is what it is," Crennel said. "Tamba is a guy who is very prideful. He's been a very good team member for this team, and I think the team will rally around him and support him the best they can during this time."

Andy Studebaker is penciled in to start during Hali's absence. He has experience playing on both sides of the line, and will get an opportunity in practice to fill Hali's role. However, Studebaker, Justin Houston and Cameron Sheffield lack Hali's dynamic impact as a pass rusher.

"All of those guys can produce and can play, so we'll put them out there and see who can bring something to the table for us," Crennel said.

--Crennel said wide receiver Dwayne Bowe will be able to practice in pads for the first time Tuesday, but wouldn't commit to whether he'll play in the third preseason game.

"These guys that he's playing against and playing with, they've been through all of training camp and have had contact much longer than he has," Crennel said. "He's learning a new system, new terminology, and he hasn't had any contact. Generally when you start contact, you get a little sore, you get a little beat up, so what we'll have to determine is how much we think he can take, how much we think he's ready for."
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