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Lynch suspended for violating substance abuse policy

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The San Francisco 49ers' defense took a hit Friday.

The team announced that linebacker Aaron Lynch is suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Lynch is eligible to return to the 49ers' active roster following the team's Oct. 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys. The linebacker can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

"While disappointed to hear the news regarding Aaron today, we support and respect the league's decision," the Niners said in statement. "We are confident that he will learn from this matter and that he understands what is expected of him moving forward."

Lynch, entering his third season, was slated to start at outside linebacker. His absence is a blow to the 49ers' pass rush. Lynch, 23, compiled 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with 16 starts.

The talented pass rusher fell to the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft due in part to off-field concerns.

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