KC Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali is back. Finally.
The Chiefs obviously missed Hali last week and his return will make a big difference on the defense. He spoke to the media upon his return and apologized for his suspension, talked about how he spent game day and the emotional toll of being away from the game. Curiously, he didn't say what led to his suspension because "Roger [Goodell] could definitely fine me for anything." (The Steelers defense nods their head.)
Here's Hali's entire interview with the media earlier today, via the Chiefs:
Q: You've always had a hunger for this game, but being away for a week, does it make it more than you've ever experienced?
HALI: "Being away and getting to watch our team wasn't something that I liked. Just to start out the conference, I just want to apologize to the league and the Hunt family. This is not the type of light that they want the organization to be in. I truly am sorry for the embarrassment. I just want to move forward and get better as a team and as an individual."
Q: What did you do last week? Did you get out of town?
HALI: "I stayed. I was able to be at the facility and work out and be in the meetings with the guys. I just wasn't able to get outside and practice."
Q: Where did you watch the game?
HALI: "I stayed home with my daughter, watched the game and my Mom came over. It wasn't fun screaming at the TV."
Q: Was there a heightened sense of frustration because the team struggled on defense a little bit?
HALI: "We played a good team, and it's always frustrating when I can't be out there or any of the other players can't be out there to contribute. They played as best they can, but for me personally, I was frustrated, yes."
Q: What sort of emotional toll did it take on you to not be able to be out there?
HALI: "Sunday, you have a routine, you have things you do. It was a little different waking up in the morning and watching a bunch of TV and walking around. It's not what I'm used to, but I was able to get through it."
Q: What did you see as an observer that you can take to the practice field to help out this defense?
HALI: "I think as a whole we just need to continue to work and get better. Every guy has to do their job. We have to continue to study film, study our opponents. I don't think we played bad. I think that team we played was able to execute. We just need to be on top of our game, and that's something we were lacking."
Q: Some of the guys felt they come out flat in the second half. Can you avoid from having that happen in the future?
HALI: "We can do whatever we need to do to get back on the field to start out fast, if it's extra warm-up, if it's more film, if it's getting up early, whatever you need to get ready. We're professionals, and when we get on the field, we need to be ready to go. I wasn't aware guys said that, but whatever we need to do as individuals to get ready, we need to get that done to just get on the field."
Q: Both teams didn't play as well as they wanted so I imagine they have similar emotions as you guys do.
HALI: "I'm sure these guys are desperate and they want to win. We want to win. The guys in the locker room are not too pleased with our result from last week, regardless of how we played defense, offense or special teams. I think coming into this game it'll be a lot more emotional and that will have to settle down. We'll have to play with a little bit more poise and get a win out there. That's our plan, to go out there and get a win."
Q: What was it that led to your suspension?
HALI: "I've got to be careful on what I say because Roger [Goodell] could definitely fine me for anything. I can't elaborate on anything, as I said. I'm very sorry for what went on, and I'm trying to move on and just be better as a person and help our team win."
Q: Do you dispute the suspension?
HALI: "No, the league has to do whatever they have to do. Whatever they have to get done, I agree with it. I have no dispute. That's how it works."