NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Pead will be suspended without pay for the first game of the 2013 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
The suspension takes Pead out of the equation for the Rams' season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 8. He will be eligible to return to the active roster a day later. Pead is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
Pead, the 50th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, is coming off a disappointing rookie season in which he struggled to pick up the playbook and eventually slipped behind seventh-round pick Daryl Richardson on the depth chart. He finished the season with just 10 carries. He spoke candidly about the lost season in a recent interview with his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati.
"Honestly, I would call it miserable," Pead said. "Miserable life. Miserable four-five months."
With Steven Jackson out of the picture, the Rams have an open competition for carries. In addition to Richardson, Pead is competing with rookie Zac Stacy and second-year pro Terrance Ganaway. Getting hit with a suspension does Pead no favors.
UPDATE: Rapoport reports the team knew about Pead's violation for months, deeming it "minor," and continues to have high expectations for the running back.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.