The NFL confirmed Thursday that free-agent running back LenDale White has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2010 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
NFL.com first reported White's suspension in May, shortly after the Seattle Seahawks surprisingly released him. If White, 25, signs with a team, he will be eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, but he must sit out the first four regular-season contests.
White has acknowledged smoking marijuana. However, he and Herman White, an uncle who has been training the running back since his release in May by Seattle, don't believe that was the reason the Seahawks abruptly cut him just weeks after trading for him.
The 6-foot-1 White ballooned past 265 pounds while falling out of favor with the Tennessee Titans. White lost weight because he said he quit drinking tequila before last season, but then Chris Johnson emerged as a 2,000-yard rusher and the star of Tennessee's franchise.
After the Titans traded him to Seattle for draft picks in April, White reported to the Seahawks weighing 219 pounds. Seattle coach Pete Carroll, for whom White starred at USC, said it was the lightest he'd seen the runner since high school. It appeared White was poised to become the lead rusher in the Seahawks' new offense.
Yet the Seahawks found that White lacked the proper work ethic and cut him in late May. General manager John Schneider said at the time that "it became apparent at this time that LenDale was not ready to be a member of the Seattle Seahawks."
White, a Denver native, has been working out with his uncle in Colorado and hoping another NFL team will call.
"He needs to look himself in the mirror. He needs to do what he needs to do (to get back in the league)," Herman White said. "If there are maturity issues and his work habits are issues, he has to address those -- if there is any validity to those allegations.
"If he receives the call and he's not ready, he needs to deal with the ramifications of that."
The league also announced Thursday that free-agent defensive tackle Hollis Thomas received an eight-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Thomas also received a four-game suspension in 2006 for violating the league's steroid policy. Thomas appealed that suspension, saying the positive test was caused by his daily use of an asthma inhaler.
Thomas, 36, split the 2009 season with the Carolina Panthers (13 games) and St. Louis Rams (three games). Like White, Thomas can participate in all preseason practices and games if he signs with a team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.