The NFL announced today that All-Pro defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been suspended for the first game of the 2015 season, as Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports tweets. Dareus’ suspension comes as a result of violating the league’s policy on substance abuse, relating to his 2014 arrest in Alabama. As Garafolo details (TwitLonger link), the standout Bills defender has issued a statement in the wake of the announcement:
“Last year, I made a mistake involving possession of a banned substance. The NFL’s discipline for this conduct is part of the drug policy, and I apologize to my family, my teammates, the entire Bills organization and Bills fans that I will miss one game as a result of my mistake. I will work intensely that week and will be extremely happy to contribute to a win in Week Two for the Bills.”
The timing isn’t great for Dareus, since he’s expected to try to hammer out a long-term contract extension with the Bills before the season gets underway. Still, the team likely anticipated that this suspension was coming, and GM Doug Whaley indicated earlier in the offseason that locking up Dareus to a long-term deal would be Buffalo’s No. 1 priority after the draft. This one-game ban shouldn’t change that.
If Dareus and the Bills aren’t able to reach an agreement on a multiyear contract before the season gets underway and his 2015 salary remains untouched, the suspension will cost him $474,118 in base salary. That’s 1/17th of his $8.06MM salary for the season.