Falcons’ Babineaux likely won’t miss playing time

Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux was arrested and jailed Thursday night in suburban Atlanta for possession of marijuana.

Police arrested Babineaux and a male passenger after smelling marijuana during a traffic stop. During a search of the car, police found roughly 40 grams of marijuana.

The Falcons also are investigating the matter and will speak to Babineaux on Friday, but team owner Arthur Blank is said to be very unhappy about the development. Blank is extremely image conscious and has been proactive in rebuilding his franchise’s reputation following the negative backlash surrounding former QB Michael Vick‘s imprisonment on federal dogfighting charges in 2007.

There has been no decision as to whether Babineaux, who has been the Falcons’ best defensive lineman (33 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles), will play against the Saints on Sunday. Babineaux is expected to practice Friday, so indications are that the Falcons will allow the legal process to play out before taking further action. That means Babineaux likely will finish out the final four games.

Besides dealing with legal authorities, Babineaux could be subject to punishment by the NFL under the personal-conduct policy.

“We are aware of the situation concerning Jonathan Babineaux and are in the process of gathering information,” a Falcons spokesperson said in a statement. “Because this is a legal matter, we will have no further comment at this time.”

The Falcons signed Babineaux to a five-year, $25 million contract extension during the offseason, but this arrest and the fallout could affect his standing with the team.

Babineaux was arrested in 2007 for killing his girlfriend’s pit bull around the same time as the Vick fiasco was unfolding. Babineaux claimed self defense and was cleared after not enough evidence was generated to proceed with animal cruelty charges.

The repeated run-ins with the law could play into any discipline handed down by the team and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

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