The NFL is supposed to be having some down time right now during the lull between OTAs and training camp.
The offseason serenity was broken this afternoon, though, with news that the Dallas Cowboys will be without one key player for the first four weeks of the 2015 season following an NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Cornerback Rolando McClain is the man to have fallen foul of the policy and, whilst this story is continuing to develop, he has been quick to release a statement addressing the situation.
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Within an hour of New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson being banned for four games, Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo was the first to break McClain's punishment:
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At this stage it is unclear which prohibited substance was found in McClain's system but it does not appear that the Cowboys star will be appealing the mandatory four game ban.
Speaking in an official statement released on his behalf by the NFLPA, he said:
"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake.
"I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error. I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots."
The news will come as a big blow to the Dallas franchise with McClain coming of a strong 2014 season.
Having already retired from the NFL twice in his brief pro career, as well as having three arrests to his name since 2011, the 25-year-old appeared to have turned things around as he took on a leading role in the Cowboys secondary after being acquired from the Baltimore Ravens.
He was handed a new one-year, $3 million deal earlier this year but this latest set back is sure too once again throw up questions about his volatile character.
Add to that the fact fellow defensive star, Greg Hardy, is still awaiting the verdict from his own 10-game suspension appeal and the Cowboys could ill afford losing any other players to needless ill-discipline.
Cowboys fans: Has McClain blown his chances in Dallas or will he bounce back in Week Five? Have your say in the comments below...
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