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Mikel Leshoure suspended two games by NFL

Detroit Lions running back Mikel Leshoure missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles' tendon. Now he'll have to wait until Week 3 of the 2012 campaign to make his NFL debut.

The NFL announced Wednesday that it has suspended Leshoure for the first two games of the upcoming season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, following his two marijuana-related arrests this offseason.

Leshoure also will be docked two additional game checks, bringing his total salary forfeiture to $109,412 of his $465,000 base salary.

"We support the Commissioner's decision regarding Mikel and appreciate the dialogue that we have had with the league office concerning the matter," Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement released by the team. "As we have previously stated, we expect every member of our organization to uphold a greater standard of behavior. If that standard is not upheld, those responsible will be held accountable. Our belief and expectation is that Mikel will continue to learn from this experience and use it as positive motivation moving forward."

Leshoure was cited for marijuana possession following a Feb. 18 traffic stop on Interstate 94 in Michigan. He pleaded guilty to a lesser offense and paid a small fine.

In early March, Leshoure was a passenger in a vehicle during another traffic stop, during which he was spotted trying to put marijuana into his mouth. He pleaded guilty and was fined $575.

A second-round draft pick out of Illinois in 2011, Leshoure will be allowed to participate in Lions training camp and preseason games before serving his suspension. He'll be eligible to return for the Lions' Week 3 road game against the Tennessee Titans.

With Leshoure definitely out for the first two weeks of the season, Kevin Smith, Keiland Williams or Joique Bell will open the season as the big-bodied complement to Jahvid Best in the Lions' backfield.

Leshoure's suspension doesn't come as a surprise, and he likely won't be the only member of the Lions drafted in 2011 to face a suspension. First-rounder Nick Fairley also has multiple arrests this offseason, for marijuana possession and a DUI.

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