The NFL announced Wednesday afternoon that St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the performance enhancing substance policy. From the league's official statement:
Jo-Lonn Dunbar of the St. Louis Rams has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
Dunbar will be eligible to return to the Rams' active roster on Friday, September 27 following the team's September 26 game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Dunbar is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
We'll be updating this as more comes out, but suffice to say it's a pretty huge blow.
Jo-Lonn Dunbar provided dependable stability next to MLB James Laurinaitis in his first year in St. Louis. His second year will start of on shakier footing.
The Rams had struggled to find someone to plug next to Laurinaitis for a couple years, but Dunbar's play was at least above average. Advanced NFL Stats ranked Dunbar the 8th best LB in the league in WPA...Suffice to say, his play was hardly below par.
That being said, the Rams drafted Alec Ogletree in the first round. Despite some off-field concerns, Ogletree has the athleticism to make an impact early in his career. It certainly appears as if he'll get the opportunity.
As it sits for Dunbar, he'll miss the first quarter of this sixth year of his career and a contract year at that, as he's set to be a free agent for the 2014 season. Those games include a season opener against division foes in the Arizona Cardinals, road trips to the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, and another division game in St. Louis against the San Francisco 49ers.
More details to come.