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'No excuse:' Von Miller accepts 6-game suspension

The SportsXchange

Von Miller met with the media Tuesday afternoon and said he wanted a "fair resolution" to his pending six-game suspension. Less than two hours later, the Denver Broncos linebacker issued a statement accepting the league-imposed punishment.

"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 through the NFL Players Association. "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."

It was an about-face for Miller, who had said just hours before that he had yet to hear from the league and the information he had came through the media.

Miller's suspension begins Aug. 31 and he will be eligible to return to the active roster Monday, Oct. 14. In their first six games of the season, the Broncos face the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Miller was originally suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy and an appeal hearing that was scheduled for last Thursday was postponed while the NFLPA and Miller's representatives discussed the matter with the league.

"I'm blessed to be in the situation I'm in, I'm blessed to be with the Denver Broncos, blessed to have great teammates,'' Miller told the Denver media before the suspension was announced.'

The unusual length of the suspension may be the result of issues that occurred during collection of the drug test.

According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Miller's urine sample was spilled when he gave it to the drug tester. A second urine sample Miller subsequently submitted as a replacement was found to be diluted.

Failing to produce a sample that can be tested when asked to submit to a drug test can also be considered a violation of NFL rules.

D.J. Williams was suspended six games last year after the league said he twice provided a substance other than human urine for his drug tests. Williams was observed trying to pour something from a bottle into his urine sample.

Miller is also facing discipline following his recent arrest for failing to appear in court for an outstanding warrant.

Miller was at a gun club in Araphoe County (Colo.) at the time of the arrest. He was booked and released Aug. 11, which was an off day for the team.

The 24-year-old Miller had failed to show up for a scheduled court date in January after he was charged in October with careless driving, driving without a license and having no proof of insurance.

NFL Players' Association assistant executive director George Atallah has said the suspension is not for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.

The Broncos led the league with 52 sacks last season but lost linebacker Elvis Dumervil to the Ravens. Dumervil and Miller combined for 29.5 sacks, with 18.5 coming from Miller. Veteran linebacker Paris Lenon was signed Tuesday to help improve depth at linebacker as Denver considers lineup alterations to compensate for Miller's absence.

"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.

"All of us will stand by Von and help him however possible as he continues his personal growth off the field," said Broncos head coach John Fox. "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."

Broncos teammates have also continued to show public support for Miller.

"It has not changed," quarterback Peyton Manning said when asked about his perspective on Miller. "There's been a lot of noise and speculation. Von is one of our teammates. He's part of the family and I certainly have his back as his teammate and I know that all of the players do and the organization does. We'll get through this time and we support him 100 percent."
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