"Von Miller of the Denver Broncos has been suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse," the NFL said in a statement. "Miller will be eligible to return to the Broncos' active roster on Monday, October 14 following the team's October 13 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars."
Miller's suspension begins on August 31 so the linebacker is still eligible to participate in the Broncos final two weeks of the preseason as well as practices until that date.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora previously reported the suspension was coming and now it's simply official. Reports indicate that the six-game suspension is a result of negotiations between the NFLPA and the NFL; Miller could've faced a much-longer suspension (up to a year?) until it was negotiated down to six games.
Miller stated Tuesday that "there is no excuse" for his violation of the rules but that his suspension did not "result from a positive test."
"The Substances of Abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules. Although my suspension doesn't result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules," Miller said in a statement. "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. During my time off the field, I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape.
"I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver."
If Von's claim is confusing, well, that's OK. It's weird to be suspended for not failing a drug test. The issues arise from a "diluted" test that reportedly caused the NFL to believe Miller was trying to manipulate the sample.
Miller will be eligible to return for the Broncos game in Week 7 against the Colts. He'll miss matchups against the Ravens, Giants, Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys and Jaguars.
“Von has acknowledged making some mistakes in the past and is now being held accountable under the policies the league has in place. 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," Broncos coach John Fox said in a statement. "All of us will stand by Von and help him however possible as he continues his personal growth off the field. Replacing him on the field will not be easy, but every team must deal with adversity.
"We will plan accordingly and be prepared. I am confident our team will step up and meet the challenge. I expect Von to stay in excellent shape and be ready to play at a high level when he returns to the Broncos."
Though the Broncos won't fall apart without their star defensive player, largely thanks to having Peyton Manning under center, it's simply impossible to replicate Miller's production on the field. He's arguably one of the two best defensive players in the NFL already (with J.J. Watt).
In 2012 alone Miller posted 18.5 sacks, 68 tackles one interception, two pass deflections and six forced fumbles. Broncos opponents averaged 4.5 yards per play with Miller on the field and 5.1 when he wasn't out there.
Miller wasn't just a stat beast though. He was dominant against the run and at times was used to spy on mobile quarterbacks like Cam Newton (Miller was incredible in Denver's win against the Panthers last year).
The Broncos will be able to survive without Miller out and it sounds as if they should be thrilled that the superstar isn't missing more time. But with players like Champ Bailey dinged up as well, it's not going to be easy going for the Broncos defense through the first six games of the year.
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