The Arizona Rattlers will be without the services of Anttaj Hawthorne for the next month.
The defensive tackle was suspended for four games by the Arena Football League Wednesday for a late hit on San Jose SaberCats quarterback Erik Meyer in a 56-34 loss last Saturday night at US Airways Center.
The play happened with about six minutes to go in the third quarter. Meyer was hit by Arizona’s Michael McAdoo while delivering a pass and taken to the ground. A couple of seconds after he went down, Hawthorne landed on top of Meyer, which drove his head into the turf while apparently twisting his neck.
Hawthorne was not penalized on the play.
Meyer stayed down in the end zone for several minutes and was eventually strapped to a stretcher and taken to a local hospital and later released.
His status for this week’s game against the Las Vegas Outlaws is still uncertain.
Hawthorne, 33, is one of the longest-tenured Rattlers, having joined the team in 2008 after spending two seasons in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.
This season, Hawthorne has four tackles and two quarterback sacks. He was named the AFL MVP for Week 5 of the season when he had two sacks and a forced fumble in the Rattlers’ 60-28 win over the L.A. KISS.
Hawthorne will appeal the suspension.
Arizona will play the New Orleans VooDoo Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.