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Hall faces 'substantial discipline'

ATLANTA - DeAngelo Hall's meltdown may have cost the Atlanta Falcons a game Sunday against Carolina. Now the three penalties and subsequent sideline tirade may cost the cornerback a hefty fine or possibly a suspension.

Non-committal immediately after the 27-20 loss to the Panthers, coach Bobby Petrino said Monday during his press conference in Flowery Branch that there would be "significant discipline."

The first-year coach didn't say what Hall faces, but he didn't rule out anything.

"We certainly don't like the actions that took place on the field and do not like the actions that happened on the sideline and that's something that we'll deal with," Petrino said.

"There will be substantial discipline. It will be handled in-house."

When asked if Hall could face a suspension, Petrino said, "We haven't come to any conclusions yet. We're keeping all our options open, but we certainly will do something."

If the Pro Bowl cornerback does lose playing time, it could open up an opportunity for rookie David Irons when the Falcons (0-3) play the Houston Texans (2-1) and former quarterback Matt Schaub next Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Irons, a former Dacula standout, is the No. 2 left cornerback on the Falcons' depth chart behind Hall.

The sixth-round draft choice from Auburn is mainly a special teams player, but he got a few snaps at right corner in the fourth quarter against Carolina.

The Falcons were leading the Panthers (2-1) in the third quarter when Hall lost his cool, committing three penalties for 67 yards in Carolina's tying drive.

Enraged by the penalties, Hall engaged Petrino and assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr. in sideline tirades and had to be restrained by three players at one point.

Petrino, who let Hall continue to play, wouldn't disclose what was said during the heated exchanges.

Hall said after the game, "We just were talking, talking about the plays that happened. He was telling me what he thought and I was telling him what I felt."

Joey Harrington threw for 361 yards and the Falcons led 17-10 after the embattled quarterback connected on a 13-yard TD pass to Alge Crumpler early in the third quarter.

But then Hall and the Falcons self-destructed, losing the momentum and giving up 17 unanswered points.

Hall had gotten the upper-hand in his personal battlings with Panthers receiver Steve Smith to that point, but things quickly changed.

On the first play from scrimmage after the Falcons went ahead, Jake Delhomme threw deep for Smith and Hall, clearly beaten, had little choice but to drag down the speedy receiver for a 37-yard pass interference penalty.

Frustrated, Hall gave Smith a shove on the next play, drawing a 15-yard personal foul call. Then after the Falcons had apparently forced a field-goal try with a sack, Hall drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for continuing to jabber at Smith.

"He took a cheap shot at me," Smith said. "That's the kind of player he is."

Given a first down, the Panthers scored and then took the lead for good despite losing Delhomme to an elbow injury.

"I felt like a lot of calls could have gone either way," Hall said. "They all went against me."

Petrino said he considered yanking Hall, but decided to let him finish.

"DeAngelo understands that's not something we do," the coach said Sunday. "We were in a position where we had a chance to win the game and that (last) penalty gave them an opportunity to score a touchdown."