Broncos linebacker Von Miller received a six-game suspension under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy Tuesday, taking away the best defensive player from a team many expect to make a run at the Super Bowl.
Broncos executive vice president John Elway said the team was frustrated with what happened “and, I think, disappointed in Von.”
“We’ll live with that decision,” Elway said. “What I’d like to do is try to do everything we can to prevent any other situations.”
According to the NFL, Miller is eligible to play and practice through the last two preseason games. His suspension, without pay, will begin Aug. 31, and will cost him more than $800,000 of the nearly $2.3 million he’s scheduled to make this season.
He’ll be allowed at the team facility, but not at practice during the suspension. He can return to the field Oct. 14, the day after Denver’s home game against Jacksonville, and will be eligible for an Oct. 20 contest at the Indianapolis Colts.
After being notified of the decision, Miller released a statement saying, “although my suspension doesn’t result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules.”
“I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself,” he said. “I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future. “
The NFL has two drug policies — one that covers use of performance-enhancing substances and the “Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse” that applied to Miller’s case.
There are ways to violate the drug policy without necessarily testing positive. They include missing a test, refusing to test, tampering with tests or giving a diluted urine sample.
49ERS: Jon Baldwin watched from the other sideline Friday night as Colin Kaepernick zipped warm-up passes to his wide receivers, then Baldwin marveled with a couple of Kansas City teammates about the 49ers quarterback.
Fast-forward four days and, by lunchtime Tuesday, Baldwin had already caught 15 balls from Kaepernick for his new team. San Francisco acquired Baldwin, an Aliquippa native and former Pitt standout, from the Chiefs on Monday for fellow underachieving former first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins.
Baldwin passed his physical late Monday then went to work at 7 a.m., Tuesday with meetings and practice. He quickly made it a point to meet Anquan Boldin, someone Baldwin knows will be a valuable resource as he quickly tries to grasp a fourth offense in three years.
BROWNS: It’s Brandon Weeden’s job — fair and square.
Weeden was named Cleveland’s starting quarterback on Tuesday, ending a “competition” set up by Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski, who wanted to push the QB to bring out the best in him.
Chudzinski’s announcement ends speculation about whether Weeden would beat out veteran Jason Campbell and start the season opener against Miami on Sept. 8. Weeden followed up a solid offseason with a strong training camp and two impressive preseason performances, completing 18 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two exhibition wins.
Weeden, who started 15 games during a bumpy rookie season, was relieved to get the news but said it won’t change him.
DOLPHINS: Miami’s offseason acquisitions at cornerback left no room for holdover Richard Marshall, who was released Tuesday.
“I had a great time playing for the Dolphins,” Marshall tweeted. “Appreciate all the love from the fans but it’s time to move on. ... Good luck to all my boys ... have a safe and successful season.”
The Dolphins added depth at the position with the offseason acquisition of veteran Brent Grimes and draft picks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. Grimes is expected to start, and Davis has been impressive in practice this summer.
EAGLES: First-year coach Chip Kelly named veteran Michael Vick Philadelphia’s starting quarterback.
Vick has been solid in two preseason games, and backup Nick Foles, in his second season with the Eagles, has struggled to grasp Kelly’s multifaceted offense. Vick has thrown for 199 yards this preseason and will take a 113.2 quarterback rating into Friday’s game at Jacksonville (0-2).
There wasn’t a lot of suspense with Kelly’s decision, which was announced after practice on Tuesday, and after the coach met with both players.
Foles has been sacked six times in two games, and has a quarterback rating of 65.5, after showing flashes as a rookie last season while Vick was injured. Foles topped 340 yards twice as a rookie.
FALCONS: While conceding he’s “a little rusty,” Atlanta Falcons right end Tony Gonzalez said he’ll be ready for the start of his final NFL season.
Gonzalez has missed most of the preseason with the Falcons, part of an arrangement with team officials when he decided to put off retirement for another year. The 37-year-old rejoined the team this past weekend and will be playing his first exhibition game Saturday night when Atlanta (0-2) visits Tennessee to meet the Titans (0-2).
Gonzalez said Tuesday he’s been working out with a local high school team in California while away from the Falcons, and he kept up with what Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense were doing on his iPad.
REDSKINS: A person familiar with the situation said Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has no ligament damage in his right foot and should be ready for the regular-season opener.
Cousins had an MRI on Tuesday. He sprained his foot when he was tackled at the end of a run in the second quarter of Monday night’s preseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
SEAHAWKS: Offensive lineman John Moffitt was traded Tuesday from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos after his original trade to Cleveland was voided by the Browns.
The Broncos, who announced the trade, sent defensive tackle Sealver Siliga to Seattle in exchange for Moffitt.
Seattle had originally traded Moffitt to the Browns on Monday, pending a physical, in exchange for Brian Sanford. But the trade was voided by the Browns. The Seahawks then turned and sent Moffitt to the Broncos, providing Denver with some experienced depth.
TITANS: When you’re one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history people tend to notice when you miss. Rob Bironas missed not once, but twice in his preseason debut for Tennessee.
Neither Bironas nor Titans coach Mike Munchak are concerned. Bironas said Tuesday he knew instantly what went wrong when he missed from 38 and 37 yards in last week’s loss to Cincinnati. Munchak says he will not be bringing in any kickers to compete.
ELSEWHERE: Ten former NFL players, including five Hall of Famers, are asking the league and its production arm to pay up.
On Tuesday, a group that includes Curley Culp and John Riggins filed a class-action suit in U.S. District Court in New Jersey to reclaim payment for the use of their names, images and likenesses from film footage they say was used on NFL Network and to promote the league without consent.
The other Hall of Famers suing are Dave Casper, Tom Mack and Ron Yary.