Denver Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller could miss as many as six games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, unidentified sources told media representatives Monday.
Von Miller's suspension had the Broncos linebacker
meeting last Thursday with the NFL Players Association in hopes of reducing a possible punishment to four games, ESPN
reported on Monday, citing unnamed league sources. Miller's urine test for drugs was flagged by the NFL as a "diluted sample."
Initial reports had Miller possibly missing four games for the Broncos.
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ESPN cited a similar incident with former Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams, who was hit with a six-game suspension in 2012 when a urine sample he provided was flagged as a "non-human" sample. Williams was hit for six more games for violating the league's personal conduct policy, said ESPN.
The loss of Miller, arguably best player on the Broncos defense, for nearly half the 2013 season would be a stunning blow to Denver and its effort to win an AFC title and reach the Super Bowl. The former Texas A&M linebacker, 24, had 30 sacks in his first two seasons, including 18.5 in 2012, according to ESPN.
Broncos coach John Fox told the Denver Post
that the league has given him no word on Miller's status.
"Well, there's really no latest," Fox said in his comments to the media, said the Denver Post. "We are aware of reports and sometimes it's erroneous because I think we'd probably find out before other people."
Miller would miss a critical stretch of the season if he is suspended for that time. Denver opens up against defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore, followed by a road game against the New York Giants, where quarterback Peyton Manning will battle against younger brother Eli Manning.
Then the Broncos will face the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles before facing the Dallas Cowboys on the road, and then the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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Broncos' linebacker Wesley Woodyard told the Denver Post he and his teammates are supporting Miller but Denver has to be prepared regardless how long his expected suspension will be.
"It is what it is," Woodyard told the Post. "We've got to take care of our business and Von has to take care of his business, on and off the field. We've got to continue to be good teammates and support him, whether it's four games, no games or six games. We're going to still be there for him."
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