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Northwestern's Venric Mark suspended for first two games

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Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press
Venric Mark was a true senior in 2013, but played in just three games and was granted another season of eligibility.

Northwestern is going to have to wait a bit longer than expected for the return of speedy senior running back Venric Mark.

Mark, who missed all but three games last season with ankle and leg injuries, has been suspended for the first two games of the season (home contests against California and Northern Illinois) for a violation of team policy.

Take a look at the top 10 players from Northwestern to play in the NFL.

"I made a mistake and am prepared to deal with the consequences of that," Mark said in a release from the school. " ... First and foremost, I feel like I let my teammates down, and that feels the worst. I’m grateful to have another season to compete with this team."

Mark (5-foot-8, 175 pounds) is expected to play a big role for the Wildcats' offense this fall. Northwestern's offense lacked a big-play presence last fall, and his return will be a huge boost in that regard. He has the talent to have an All-Big Ten season.

Senior Treyvon Green, who ran for 736 yards last season, will be the starting running back in Mark's absence.

Mark ran for 1,366 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior in 2012, and his speed, elusiveness and versatility -- he is an excellent return man -- were such that he once was considered a potential third-day draft pick despite his lack of size. To regain that status, he must show he is healthy.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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