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St. Louis Rams' Jo-Lonn Dunbar suspended four games

The St. Louis Rams will begin a new season without one of their starting linebackers.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced Wednesday.

Dunbar will be eligible to return to the Rams' active roster the day after their Week 4 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. He is eligible to participate in all training-camp practices and preseason games.

NFL Network's Michelle Beisner talked to a Rams source who said Dunbar's failed test was not a result of PED use.

"I just want to say that I did not take a performance-enhancing drug," Dunbar said, via The Associated Press. "I mistakenly took something that prompted a failed drug test."

"I sincerely apologize to my teammates (and) the organization," Dunbar added. "I am deeply saddened by this. But I plan to serve my four-game suspension and get back to playing football as soon as possible."

Dunbar's suspension helps explain the Rams' signing of 11-year veteran Will Witherspoon to a one-year contract last month. Witherspoon is likely to join first-round draft pick Alec Ogletree and veteran James Laurinaitis in the starting lineup until Dunbar can return.

Dunbar was the 15th-best 4-3 outside linebacker last season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. It will be up to Witherspoon to replace Dunbar's impact, specifically against the run.

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