NEW YORK (AP) — Tom Brady isn’t the only star player suspended by the NFL when the season begins.
Joining the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback from the Patriots on the sidelines are such standouts as Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (three games, violating the substance abuse policy); Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (four games, substance abuse); Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (one game, personal conduct); and Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich (four games, performance enhancers).
Other notable veterans under suspension are Browns receiver Josh Gordon (four games, substance abuse); Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict (three games, player safety violations); Giants kicker Josh Brown (one game, personal conduct); and Cowboys LB Rolando McClain (10 games, substance abuse).
Brady, of course, is out for four games for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the AFC title game after the 2014 season. During the summer, he dropped his appeals of the suspension handed down by Commissioner Roger Goodell in the “Deflategate” saga.
So in steps untested Jimmy Garoppolo.
“This is why you play the game. You play to be in the game and play. You don’t want to be the backup,” Garoppolo said. “The opportunity is here. I’ve just got to go take advantage of it.”
Three players are under indefinite suspension for substance abuse violations: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant, Raiders LB Aldon Smith and Redskins RB Silas Redd. Ravens tight end Nick Boyle is out for 10 games (performance enhancers).
Cleveland’s Gordon comes off a lost year when he was suspended for failing another drug test. He hasn’t played in a game since December 2014 and will get back on the field for the same game Brady returns to New England on Oct. 9.
“I’m the same guy,” Gordon said during training camp. “I’m definitely the same guy. I’m confident in my abilities. I definitely am aware of what I can do and I think I can build upon that and do even better.”
In all, 28 players are suspended, including three Cowboys: Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence each got four games for substance abuse. Baltimore, New England, Cleveland and Green Bay each have two players suspended.