(Reuters) – The Denver Broncos will be without linebacker Von Miller, their best defensive player, for the first six games of the season after he was suspended under the National Football League (NFL)’s substance-abuse policy.
Miller, a Pro Bowler in 2011 and 2012, will be eligible to return to the Broncos on October 20 against the Indianapolis Colts.
“The substances of abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules,” Miller, 24, said in a statement released on Tuesday by the NFL Players Association.
“Although my suspension doesn’t result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules.
“I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself. I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future.”
The NFL has two drug policies – one that covers the use of performance-enhancing substances and the substance-abuse policy violated by Miller. However, no further details were revealed by the NFL.
Miller’s suspension will officially begin on August 31 and he will miss four home games, against the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars, and two on the road, against the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
“Von has acknowledged making some mistakes in the past and is now being held accountable under the policies the league has in place,” Broncos head coach John Fox said in statement.
“While it’s very disappointing that we will be without him for the start of the season, we will support him as a football team and organization.”
Shortly before Miller’s suspension was announced on Tuesday, the Broncos signed linebacker Paris Lenon, a 12-year league veteran.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)