St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been suspended by the National Football League for the first four games of the 2013 regular season after violating the league's policy against performance-enhancing substances, the NFL announced on Wednesday.
Dunbar will miss games against the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers and will be eligible to return to the active roster on Friday, Sept. 27.
The Rams signed Dunbar to a two-year, $3.05 million contract on April 2, 2012. Dunbar started all 16 games for the Rams, totaling 113 tackles, including a team-high 16 for a loss, with 4.5 sacks, 12 hits on opposing quarterbacks, two interceptions and five passes defensed while playing in 1,060 of the Rams' 1,076 defensive snaps (98.51 percent).
With Dunbar out, veteran Will Witherspoon would be the favorite to start at strong-side linebacker.
Dunbar was scheduled to earn $1.3 million in base salary this season and a four-game suspension without pay means he will forfeit $305,882 in salary. The Rams could also seek to recoup the prorated portion of Dunbar's $1 million signing bonus from last season, which would amount to $117,647.
Dunbar becomes the third player the Rams added in 2012 to be suspended by the National Football League this offseason. Running back Isaiah Pead, a second-round pick in 2012, was suspended one game for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Guard Rokevious Watkins, a fifth-round pick last year, was also suspended for the first game of the season for violating the substance abuse policy. The Rams released Watkins, who is now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
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