Dolphins lose starting running back Mark Walton to four-game suspension

One of the Miami Dolphins’ most promising offensive players will miss the next four games. Second-year running back Mark Walton has been suspended for four games by the NFL after violating the league’s conduct and substance-abuse policies, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

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Despite the suspension, the Dolphins say they will welcome back Walton with open arms once he’s eligible to return.

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Walton apologized to Dolphins fans, and vowed to “make the most of this chance” when he returns.

The news comes just two weeks after the Dolphins made Walton their primary running back. The team starting leaning on Walton more even when Kenyan Drake was still around. When the Dolphins traded Drake prior to Week 9, it was assumed Walton would be their main guy down the stretch.

That’s exactly how the team treated Walton the past two games. In Week 8, Walton received 87 percent of the snaps for the Dolphins. He was on the field for 75 percent of the snaps in Week 9.

While Walton’s suspension looks like bad luck considering the Dolphins just traded Drake, that’s not the case. The team reportedly knew Walton was facing a suspension before it traded Drake to the Arizona Cardinals. The Dolphins made the move anyway.

With Walton sidelined, Kalen Ballage could sneak his way back into the picture. Ballage was the team’s No. 2 running back in Week 9. The Dolphins also has Patrick Laird.

Walton’s suspension comes at a rough time for the Dolphins. The team also lost promising rookie receiver Preston Williams to an injury Monday.

The news comes after the Dolphins won their first game of the season Sunday. The team defeated the New York Jets 26-18 in Week 9.

Extending their winning streak could be on hold. After losing both Walton and Williams on Monday, the team will head into its Week 10 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts without their starting running back and best receiver.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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