Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller has officially been suspended for the first six games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Miller's suspension will begin on Aug. 31 and he will be eligible to return on Oct. 14.
Miller released the following statement through the NFL Players Association:
"The Substances of Abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules," Miller said. "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. 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."
Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway said the organization was disappointed in Miller.
"Obviously we’re frustrated with what’s happened — and I think disappointed in Von," Elway said, according to the team's transcript. "I think the way that I’ve looked at this, and we’ll continue to look at this, is the fact that the decision that’s come down — we’ll live with that decision. What I’d like to do is try to do everything we can to prevent any other situations. Whatever we have to do as an organization to try to help Von, we want to be able to do."
Broncos coach John Fox said that it was probably "wishful thinking" that his best defensive player would be able to avoid a suspension.
"We’re going to support Von," Fox said. "Obviously he has made some mistakes. He’s willing to work to eliminate those mistakes as well as we are. This is a family whether it’s the teammates or the coaching staff and we’re going to support him. He’s done a lot of good things; he’s not a bad kid."
Miller will miss games against the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. The suspension will also cost Miller $806,162 of his $2,284,125 base salary for the upcoming season. The Broncos could also seek to recover a prorated portion of his signing bonus, which amounts to $1,215,265, bringing Miller's potential losses to $2,021,427 from this suspension.
Without Miller, the Broncos will be relying on free agent outside linebacker Shaun Phillips to provide pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the first part of the 2013 season.