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Panthers DE Frank Alexander suspended 4 games to start 2014

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Frank Alexander can return to the active roster Sept. 29. (USATSI)
Frank Alexander can return to the active roster Sept. 29. (USATSI)

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Panthers backup defensive end Frank Alexander has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, the league announced Friday.

And while league rules allow Alexander to participate in offseason workouts and preseason practices and games, he won't be eligible to return to the active roster until Sept. 29. That means Alexander will miss games against Tampa Bay, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, before returning to the lineup six days before Carolina faces Chicago.

A 2012 fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, Alexander has played in 28 games during his NFL career and has 3.5 sacks.

Last week, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said he wouldn't rule out drafting a defensive lineman a year after the team used its first two draft picks on Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. Now he has even more reason to do so.

"You guys can look at me like I'm crazy,” Gettleman said, via the News & Observer. “But if there's a blue goose pass rusher or a blue goose defensive tackle sitting there, I'm not going to be afraid.”

When asked what a blue goose was, Gettleman responded, "A guy that can help right now."

In the latest CBSSports.com mock drafts, three of four experts have the Panthers taking an offensive tackle.

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