The Denver Broncos will be without their best defensive player for the first six games of the season.
The NFL suspended Von Miller on Tuesday for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Citing a person informed of the negotiations, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday's edition of NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" that the league initially sought an eight-game suspension for Miller but settled on six.
Rapoport later added that Miller now is in Stage 3 of the league's program and policy for substances of abuse and his next violation carries a minimum one-year suspension, according to a person informed of the player's situation. Per the policy, Miller will stay in Stage 3 for the rest of his career.
Miller released a statement through the NFL Players Association: "The substances of abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules. 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," Miller continued. "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."
NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Monday, according to two sources, that a diluted sample caused Miller's most recent violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The Broncos also could face financial penalties for repeated offenses. Breer is reporting that the NFL will have to decide whether or not the previous suspensions and penalties to team executives Tom Heckert and Matt Russell will be applied to the league's salary remittance policy.
The Broncos have had a rough preseason, with Miller's defensive teammates, Derek Wolfe and Champ Bailey, also suffering injuries. The team also is trying to make up for the departure of pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil in free agency.